Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ode to the holy root vegetable

You've heard me talk about them before but I just can't get enough of these wonderful tuberosus delights. The Jerusalem artichoke  has absolutely no significance to its name sake Jerusalem - in fact I don't even think they grown in Israel at all. Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes  are void of any  resemblance to artichokes all together not in taste texture or appearance. They taste more like a water chestnut or jicama. Weirdly enough Jerusalem artichokes are potato like dirt dwellers that are closely related to the sunflower family. They grow naturally from the Eastern seaboard from Georgia to Nova Scotia. FACT: In the 1600's the Jerusalem artichokes were accepted into French culture solely based on the fact that they bore the name artichoke. However they quickly fell into obscurity when  potatoes became more widely accepted - they had previously been rejected because they were considered suspicious. One thing is for sure, these things are just fabulous! Roasted pureed or raw they always add something to the dish, just know they take a bit longer to cook then other root vegetables *if cooking on stove top cook at low temp to reduce browning, they are best roasted. This recipe is my homage to the Jerusalem artichoke. 
Holy root puree INGREDIENTS: 
5 large jerusalem artichokes or more 1 1/2 pounds - rough chop
1 cooking onion - rough chop
2 cloves of garlic - rough chop
celery leaves - 1 cup rough chop
butter - 1 tbs
olive oil - drizzle 
1/2 lemon -  zest & juice 
thyme - 3-4 sprigs
nutmeg - 1tsp or less
splash white wine - dry (optional)
milk (1 percent or higher) - 1 cup 
veggie stock - 4 cups 
COOK: Sautee (sweat) onion, garlic and celery in butter and olive oil, add chokes and cook for 5 mins. Add the lemon juice, stock, wine, nutmeg and thyme and bring to a boil - cook until chokes are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and puree everything until smooth. Transfer mixture back to the pot, and cook on medium heat, add milk and zest and enjoy.

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Thanks for your two cents. I love change!