Sunchoke Soup

November 23, 2010

You might recall that I spent the beginning of this past week soaking up Thomas Keller’s Yountville, CA in Sonoma County. Pomme souffle of Maine Peeky-Toe Crab, Deviled Quail Eggs, and Salmon Stuffed with Brioche, Chestnuts and Garden Sage, oh my.

I can only imagine what would happen to our already hefty grocery bill if I cooked this luxuriously at home.

But I did come away from Keller’s Bouchon with a bit of inspiration – and here is my twist on the fabulous soup that I enjoyed as indian summer came to set in Sonoma one Wednesday afternoon.

Sunchokes, or jerusalem artichokes as they are frequently called, are the roots of sunflowers and possess an earthy nuttiness that stands alone quite well in this soup. It has been a fabulous lunch for us this week but we might just serve it at Thanksgiving, dressed up with applewood smoked bacon bits, or a little drizzle of fresh rosemary pesto.

From palate memory, Keller’s soup is a bit creamier than my own version; my take is a bit more friendly to those of us that find meet our dairy overload all to easily, but whom still crave the zesty, lovely warmth of a good bowl in the winter. – xo L

Sunchoke Soup
  1. 1 1/4 lbs sunchokes, scrubbed clean
  2. 1 large leek, cleaned well and sliced
  3. 4 tbs butter
  4. 4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  5. 2 large shallots, trimmed and sliced thinly
  6. 3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  7. 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  8. 1 scant cup cream
  9. salt, black pepper and white pepper to taste
  10. 4 ounces heavy cream, whipped lightly (optional)
  1. Slice the scrubbed sunchokes and slice. Store in ice water as until you are ready to start cooking!
  2. Melt the butter over medium/high heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic, shallots and leek and sweat until the vegetables are just soft.
  3. Drain the sunchokes and add them, tossing to coat. Pour in the stock, put the lid on the pan, and simmer until the sunchokes are soft. (15-20 minutes)
  4. Add the milk and cream and return the soup to boil. Once boil is achieved, remove from heat and season.
  5. With an immersion blender, carefully buzz the soup to chop up the large pieces of vegetable. You can also do this in small batches with a food processor but the immersion blender is quite a bit faster.
  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and, just before serving, and, if you choose add the whipped cream to garnish and lighten up the texture.

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