Sunday, 17 January 2010

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Hazelnuts

Jerusalem artichokes aren't the prettiest looking of vegetables and seem to be much maligned for their (to put it politely) gas inducing properties. But that's not to say that they can't be transformed from the knobbly roots that they are, into some delicious dishes.

I first came across jerusalem artichokes about 12 years ago when I was living in France but didn't get to taste them then as these topinomboux, which grow abundantly even in poor soil, were destined for animal feed. It wasn't until a few years later that I spotted them for sale in the greengrocers back in England that I bought some to make a wild rice, puy lentil and jerusalem artichoke salad. A lovely earthy salad, perfect for the winter months.

What I didn't know until recently was that the jerusalem artichoke is from the same family as the sunflower. Looking at the roots (which are cultivated as the vegetable we eat) I could be excused for not guessing, but it's easier to see the family ressemblance when you see the flowers of the plant.

Jerusalem artichokes lend themselves perfectly to a hearty winter soup and the addition of hazelnut oil and toasted hazelnuts raises this soup to something a little special and good enough for a weekend lunch with friends.


8 - 10 medium jerusalem artichokes
1 medium leek (white and pale green only)
1 medium onion
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 to 1 & 1/2 litres light vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 oz butter
dash olive oil
salt & pepper
handful blanched hazelnuts (to serve)
hazelnut oil (to serve)


Finely chop the oinion and slice and wash the leek. Add the butter, dash of olive oil, onion and leek to a large heavy bottomed pan or casserole (which has a lid). Heat gently over a low heat and then place a sheet of baking parchment over the vegetables and tuck it down to seal in the steam. Put the lid on the pan and cook very gently for abuot 10 minutes (checking and stirring regularly to ensure that the vegetables do not turn brown). Discard the baking parchment.

Whilst the oinions and leeks are cooking, peel and chop the jerusalem artichokes and then add to the pan along with the stock and bay leaves. Simmer gently until the jerusalem artichokes are cooked though.

Remove the bay leaves and then puree the soup until smooth and return to the pan with the lemon juice (add more to taste if you like) and season generously with freshly ground black pepper and salt if needed.

As the soup is warming through slowly, gently toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan and then crush slighty (I did this by putting them in a sandwich bag and bashing them with a rolling pin). Dish up the soup, drizzle with the hazelnut oil and scatter some toasted nuts in the centre of each bowl.

Serves 4 for lunch or 6 as a starter.


  1. Lovely! I do love Jerusalem chokes in a soup. Adding a pinch of asafoetida to the soup helps to counteract those unwanted 'effects'

  2. mmmh ! that looks delicious! JA are among my favourite tastes and I love hazelnuts too, so I con totall see that combination working a treat!

  3. what a lovely recipe, I'm always racking my brains for decent ways of cooking these - will definitely give this a go!

  4. I made a version of this a couple of years ago and while I enjoyed it, I just couldn't be bothered with the peeling again especially since my trusty peeler has vanished. I've noticed that this year's artichokes seem to be a lot smoother though so am tempted again. Your dish looks lovely.

  5. it's a lovely, simple recipe. i know they look really awful, but they taste amazing. happy new year, by the way, we both did our last posts around the same time in 2009 and i have yet to post a new one for 2010, work has sucked out all my time, all i really want to do is blog :) happy new decade, x shayma

  6. Thanks for all your lovely comments!

    Helen - Thanks for the tip! I've added it to dhal, etc but hadn't thought to try with this soup.

    Passionate Cook - I decided on the hazelnuts as a god friend had bought me a small bottle of gorgeous hazelnut oil and I thought the nuttiness would work well with the artichokes.

    Gastrogeek - Let me know if you try it!

    Kerri - I know they're a pain to peel (and I like to do it quickly so that they don't start to brown before they hit the pan) but I actually prefer this soup made with older artichokes rather than the fresh new purple skinned ones in my photo.

    Shayma - Happy New Year to you too! Work gets in the way of my blogging all the time too! Hope you find some time soon.

  7. Gas attack! Looks delicious. Great idea with the nut oil. Reminds me very powerfully of Sunday lunch with my grandmother. By coffee the whole house would be reverberating and about to explode.

  8. This soup looks utterly delicious. Really velvety.

    Did you know that a lot of chefs refer to them as 'fartichokes' :)

  9. Browners / The Ample Cook - Gas attack indeed! I can see why chefs would choose that particulat nickname for them...!

  10. Can't wait to try this! The wild rice, lentil and jerusalem artichoke salad sounds pretty exciting too, you'll have to post that sometime :)