Jerusalem Artichoke, Parsnip and Bacon Soup

Jerusalem ArtichokeA quick trip to the first Killavullen Farmers’ Market of the year last weekend produced an unexpected treasure. I pounced on a pile of just-scrubbed nobbly tubers on the Nano Nagle stand – Jerusalem artichokes. Also known as fartichokes (in my house anyway) they’re not vegetables that you come across on sale too often.

We tried to grow them last year but, as with so many of the things that we planted, the rabbits thought otherwise. Having read a lot about how they are a virtual weed in many gardens, I have high hopes of them turning up again but, until now, it has been an artichoke-free winter.

They have a rather sweet, earthy flavour, both nutty and garlicy. I had wanted to try them raw in a salad but, with the intensely cold recent weather, decided to go down the soup path instead as they make an almost velvety, warming soup. Their nobbly-ness makes them difficult to peel so – always being one for a shortcut! – I just give them a good scrub (watch out for soil in the crevices unless you want a gritty, rather than velvety, soup), chop them up and threw them into the pot. At least that way you end up with more of the artichokes in the soup than in the compost bin.

Jerusalem Artichoke, Parsnip and Bacon Soup
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Butter – a small knob
Streaky bacon – 100g, roughly chopped
Onion – 1, roughly chopped
Thyme sprigs – 4
Garlic – 2 cloves, roughly chopped
Jerusalem artichokes – 700g, well scrubbed and sliced
Parsnips – 700g, peeled and sliced (about three medium parsnips)
Maple syrup or honey – 1 tablespoon
Vegetable or chicken stock – 850ml
Milk – 250ml
Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Crème fraîche to serve

Melt the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan.

Fry half of the chopped streaky bacon for a few minutes then add the onion, thyme, garlic, artichokes, parsnips and maple syrup and cook until slightly softened, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the stock and milk and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are just cooked through.

Blend using a hand-held blender or liquidiser and season to taste.

Meanwhile, fry the rest of the chopped streaky bacon in a hot pan until brown and crispy. Serve the bowls of soup topped with spoonfuls of crème fraîche and a scattering of crispy bacon.

Serves 4-6.

Caroline

Caroline

Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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7 Responses

  1. Rosa says:

    That soup sounds very promising! I love the ingredients used…Cheers,Rosa

  2. Caroline says:

    And easy – I love making dishes like soups and stews where you do all the chopping and prep at the start and then just let the dish cook itself, with the minimum of fuss!

  3. Martin says:

    Jane Austin used to call this Palestine soup because of the confusion with Jerusalem, the plant is however a relation of the Italian Girasol,or Sunflower and tastes a little like the globe variety of Artichoke. The French call ’em Topenambours after a South American tribe which was discovered at the same time they were introduced. There is nearly as much to tell as to eat in them !

  4. Caroline says:

    And I’ve found another name! I was in Cafe Paradiso on Saturday and they had Sunchoke Soup on the menu…how strange that one little tuber should have so many different identities.

  5. Pyzahn says:

    Fartichokes?!? That’s funny. But it doesn’t exactly make me want to run out and buy one. You have a great blog. And I noticed that bacon was a main ingredient in this recipe. When you get a minute, check out my latest post about the Land of Bacon.Keep eating, cooking, writing.http://tinyurl.com/chv2z4

  6. Caroline says:

    To be honest, I’ve never had a problem with them but so many people that mention it, I thought I’d better give a heads up. Nothing worse than being caught on the hop!

  7. Wow, cooking parsnips with soups can never be so easy. i like the ingredients..

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