Sometimes the weather gets cold - the kind of cold that demands you stay in doors, cook up some soup (and some hot chocolate), and enjoy the coziness of your home curled up with a book. This is the kind of cold that has recently hit San Francisco hard. And, I’ve been all about the cozy - and the soup.
It was just earlier this month that I fell in love with sunchokes. Yes, of course I was familiar with them, but mostly through the lens of a restaurant menu. So, when I saw them in my neighborhood grocery store, I swiftly bagged up a handful and brought them home.
To my delight, my partner, Mo, had the perfect recipe in mind: sunchoke soup. I sat back while he cooked, observed his process, and gleefully tasted. He had created one of the most delicious soups I had ever tasted. In the following days, I proceeded to recreate his recipe and give it my own twist. Out came this sage and nutmeg sunchoke soup.
It’s a wonderfully rich soup, with the major flavor profile being sunchoke, which is reminiscent of artichokes (but not related), and hints of nutmeg, leeks, and sage. I’ve served the soup with sunchoke chips which adds a nice crunch.
Sunchokes, also known as jerusalem artichokes, are filled with some amazing stuff - fiber, potassium, iron, copper, molybdenum, calcium, phosphorus, and b complex. They are also rich in inulin, a prebiotic and type of carbohydrate that the body doesn’t actually metabolize, instead it’s eaten up by (good) bacteria in our large intestine (Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli). A healthy population of these guys is associated with better nutrient absorption (especially magnesium and calcium), lower risk of allergy, and increased immune function.
3 cups sunchoke
1/2 medium onion
2 tbsp oil (ghee or coconut oil)
2/3 cup cream (or an alternative milk like coconut milk)
2 cup vegetable broth
sea salt, to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
5-10 sage leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
Oven Temp: 350 | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Serves: 4
1. Preheat Oven
2. Prep Sunchokes: Roughly chunk 2 1/2 cups. Place in pan for roasting. Add good cooking oil (ghee or coconut) and a pinch sea salt. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until they are easily pierced with a fork.
Sunchoke chips: Thinly slice the remaining 1/2 cup (~2 or 3 sunchokes). These will become sunchoke chips! Mix the slices in a bowl with a little sea salt and oil. Evenly coat the chips. Then, place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the chips for 20 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden brown. Flip them over halfway through.
3. Leek and onions: Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a deep skillet or sauce pan. Slice the leek and onion and add them to the pan. Occasionally stirring them. Add a healthy pinch of salt, black pepper, and nutmeg. Sauté for another few minutes.
4. Broth: Add the broth, kombu, and one stemless sage leaf. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly heat the cream in a separate sauce pan. Then, add the roasted chunked sunchokes and cream to broth. Cover, put on low heat, and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Occasionally stirring. Remove the kombu after 5 minutes.
Remove sunchoke chips from the oven if you haven’t already, place on a plate to cool. Set to the side.
5. Blend: Place the contents in a blender. Blend on high for a minute to two, or until the consistency is smooth. Taste, make any adjustments (salt, etc.)
6. Sage: In a skillet add olive oil and bring to a gentle heat. Rinse and pat dry the sage leaves. Adding them to heated oil. Fry them for about a minute on each side. The oil should stay at a medium temperature as to avoid getting too hot and smoking. Place the leaves between two paper towels when they’re done to absorb any extra oil. Pour the excess oil from the skillet into a small bowl for garnishing.
7. Serve: In individual bowls. Garnish with the fried sage and sage oil. Serve the sunchoke chips on the side. And enjoy!