Jerusalem artichokes have become one of my winter veggies that greatly add to my seasonal eating. In Canada, the Jerusalem artichokes that I used to buy were a beige colour. In Provence, I’ve often seen them as a beautiful magenta colour.
The French and Jerusalem Artichokes (Topinambour)
Topinambour was one of the few vegetables, if not one of the only ones, available during WWII in France. The misery associated with this time in history in a starving Europe gave Jerusalem artichokes a bad reputation. Their ability to get the digestive system working, and their consequential association with flatulence, didn’t really help either. The older generation that can still remember the war years often refuse to eat them. However, as all veggies almost forgotten, they’re experiencing a little renaissance.
It is time for the Jerusalem artichoke to rise again! For only the good reasons. This vegetable is unique in flavour. It adds welcome variety to the root veggies of winter. Also, when paired with potatoes, it doesn’t affect the digestive system with the same vigour.
I swear, they’re delicious.
Simple Jerusalem Artichoke Soup- Potage Topinambour
500g Jerusalem Artichokes scrubbed and cut into small pieces*
2 floury potatoes peeled and cut into pieces
1 onion finely sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds (or to your liking)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Add the cumin to a dry saucepan and roast on a low heat for 30 seconds or until you can smell it. Add the tablespoon of oil and cook the onions on a low heat until translucent. About 8 minutes. Add the Jerusalem artichoke and potato. Add enough water or vegetable stock until just covered. Cover the pan, then simmer for 25 minutes or until tender.
Blend in a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a dribble of creme fraiche or thick cream and cumin seeds to garnish. Eat with large chunks of country style bread.
*You can peel the artichokes if you like but it isn’t necessary. It all depends on how much patience you have!
Have you tried Jerusalem artichoke? Do you like them? What do you do with them?