Spring is just around the corner (I hope): Sunchoke soup with ginger and rosemary

When we make it to this point in the year, that terrifying hinterland just on the cusp of Spring, I start to find the farmer’s market a little depressing. It’s hard enough navigating the endless fields of parsnips and swiss chard that appear all winter when you KNOW that other vegetables are ages away; getting this close to the real show, the return of variety, every day that passes without the tender greens (and purples, and yellows) of the warmer season gets harder to stomach. We are so close, and yet so far. The only way to remedy this malaise, in my experience, is to make something totally new, totally bizarre, something that you’re not sure will work.  Something like sunchoke soup.

soup

The sunchoke, also known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, is  variable that’s been kicking around my head for some years now, ever since I had an amazing bowl of sunchoke soup in (of all places) a tiny, ramshackle pub in Kent, England. I, of course, remembered no details of the soup  when I stumbled across the sunchokes (or, come to think of it, the flavor of the sunchoke itself), except for the fact that it was creamy and savory and delicious. This hole in my memory, while slightly daunting, left me wide open to just do what I do best: throw crap in a pan and see what happens. This particular day,  the fates smiled on me, and the sunny astringency of the aromatics complemented the nutty sunchoke beautifully. Throw in a little greek yogurt for creaminess, and you’re laughing!

sunchokes

One thing I will caution: blend this one thoroughly–when you think you’ve blended enough, blend a little more. Though the sunchoke behaves, in many ways, like a potato, it’s really quite fibrous. Which is not bad in its own right (and is, quite frankly, delicious roasted), but if you’re after a veloute, a little more coaxing is required.

Sunchokes are in season for a little bit longer–if you can get your hands on some, I definitely recommend you snag some and go to town.

Sunchoke soup with ginger and rosemary

2 lbs sunchokes, cut into pieces approximately 2″ long
1 medium onion, sliced
1 knob ginger, approximately 2″ long, finely chopped or grated
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
1/2c greek yogurt
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock

  1. Preheat your oven to 400; toss the sunchokes and garlic with a bit of olive oil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy stock pot (a dutch oven is even better) over medium heat; cook onions until just translucent.
  3. Add sunchokes, garlic, rosemary, ginger, and vegetable stock to pot. Simmer on low heat for up to 45 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste as you go.
  4. Puree the soup; you can either use an immersion blender, or you can use a standing blender or a food processor (just be sure to work in small batches if you use one of the latter two). Add more stock or water if necessary.
  5. Stir in greek yogurt until it all appears creamy and fragrant. Serve with delicious bread.
In light, low fat, soup

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