Parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes (otherwise known as topinambour or sunchoke) married together in a piquant, rich tasting, velvety soup that is not only nourishing & healthy but delicious at the same time; especially when we all are aiming to atone & make up for December’s excesses – at least I am (trying…).
Roasting enhances the savoury, aromatic sweetness of the parsnips and the equally sweet but nutty flavour of the Jerusalem artichoke while both provide a creaminess that just needs a tablespoon or two of cream to perfect the soup. Lemon & thyme eradicate any heaviness, add a nice zing and underlines the allusive artichoke flavour.A perfect soup for a murky day and as far as our experiments have proven, none of the Jerusalem artichokes windy reputation has taken place.
Like swede, salsify and scorzonera, Jerusalem artichokes as well as parsnips have re-emerged from obscurity respectively unpopularity. I love the increased variety of roots & tubers around, rediscovering historic & seasonal vegetables and cooking after old or new recipes just as much as tracing the etymology of these plants names. The topinambour plant has a decidedly interesting one that leads back to Renaissance & Baroque collections in so called Wunderkammern, art chambers or cabinets of curiosities, where anything or everything that was wondrous, new, exciting, astounding, art or otherwise was collected, displayed in preciously decorated small rooms to be admired and studied.
Helianthus tuberosus have radiant yellow flowers akin to sunflowers, a similarity which is reflected in its other monikers: sunchoke or girasole (Italian for sunflower, which became Jerusalem) artichoke. The sweet & nutty tasting tubers remind indeed of artichoke, though their texture is closer to potatoes, likewise a vegetable originating in the New World. Its other name, Topinambour, is the result of a coincidental visit of the Tupinambá, a Brasilian indigenous tribe, to early 17th century Paris, where the botanical novelties where exhibited and were swiftly used as patrons. The Vatican with an equal appetite for collecting all wonders of the World in its Wunderkammern decided on the descriptive girasole articiocco, sunflower artichoke, from where the derivatives Jerusalem artichoke or sunchoke are not hard to explain.
Other soups & stews for stormy days: artichoke soup, red lentil, curry & coconut soup, minestrone della nonna, olive pickers’ soup, triple pumpkin soup, quick tom yum soup, chicken fricassee (Hühnerfrikassee), brisket & beans.
Roasted parsnip & Jerusalem artichoke soup
1 large parsnip
4-5 topinambour or Jerusalem artichokes (approx. 11-14 oz)
9 sprigs of thyme
salt & white pepper
1 large shallot, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 cups or ¾ litre chicken broth or vegetable stock
¼ cup (roughly one handful) grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Pardano
1-2 tablespoons cream
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
olive oil, Parmigiano or thyme & black pepper to garnish
Peel parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes (they normally do not need peeling, though here I rather like a fine, creamy puree without the admittedly thin skins), cut into 3-4cm (1½ inches) chunks and toss on a baking sheet with olive oil and thyme. Season and bake in a preheated oven (180°C / 360° F) for 45 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Sweat minced shallots and garlic in a little butter until fragrant and translucent, add roasted parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, thyme & broth and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the thyme, blend into a smooth soup and return to the saucepan over low heat, adding a little more broth if the soup is too thick. Stir in the cream, grated Parmigiano, lemon zest to taste and season with lemon juice, salt & pepper. Serve drizzled with a little olive oil, more parmesan or thyme and a few twists of black pepper.
Geröstete Pastinaken- & Topinambursuppe
1 große Pastinake
4-5 Topinambur (ca. 300-400g)
Salz & weißer Pfeffer
1 große Schalotte, gehackt
1 kleine Knoblauchzehen, gehackt
¾ Liter Hühner- oder Gemüsebrühe
1 Handvoll geriebener Parmigiano Reggiano oder Grana Pardano
1-2 EL Sahne
Saft und geriebene Schale von ½ Zitrone
Olivenöl, Parmigiano oder Thymianblättchen & schwarzer Pfeffer als Garnitur
Pastinake und Topinambur schälen (normalerweise braucht man die dünne Schale nicht abschälen, hier möchte ich aber ein helles samtiges Püree und entferne sie daher), in ca. 3-4 cm große Stücke zerteilen und auf einem Backblech mit Olivenöl und Thymianzweigen vermischen. Würzen und im vorgeheizten Backofen (180°C) ca. 45 Minuten goldbraun backen.
Gehackte Schalotten und Knoblauch in einem Stich Butter anschwitzen und glasig werden lassen, die gerösteten Wurzel bzw. Knolle mit Thymian und Hühnerbrühe hinzugeben und ca. eine Viertelstunde leise köcheln lassen.
Thymianzweige entfernen, die Suppe pürieren (mit einem Pürierstab oder im Blender), sollte das Püree zu dicklich geraten kann man es mit etwas Hühnerbrühe verdünnen und das ganze wieder in den Topf füllen. Bei niedriger Hitze die Sahne, Parmesan, Zitronenschale einrühren und die Suppe mit Zitronensaft, Salz & Pfeffer abschmecken, anschließend mit etwas Olivenöl, Parmesan oder Thymianblättchen sowie frisch gemahlenem schwarzen Pfeffer servieren.
Perfect soup for this time of year! I like the addition of cheese and thyme too!
Totally good for this kind of weather (stormy and getting icy here again) and so scrumptious but fresh – almost like a cheese fondue without the side effects.
Nicole, it has been a while since I didn’t cook Jerusalem Artichoke, unfortunately it is extremely rare to find them in the market . Thank you for you reminding me about this delicious vegetable. Your soup looks very unctuous. Have a great day xx
Thanks Linda, my pleasure. I am just discovering it again and am totally puzzled why it got neglected for such a long time. Keeping fingers crossed for some to come your way, have a great evening, N xx
Oooh, Perfect! Just what my body needs after Christmas. Yum!
Let’s swap, no, let’s have it together with the lobster bowl…
Oh yeah! My kind a gal! We might have to open up an eaterie soon, you know 😉
Not such a bad idea…
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