Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter Cooking -- Jerusalem Artichoke & Lentil Soup

I love how I can get into such a fixed weekly routine that when it slowly changes based on seasonal activities or commitments that ebb and flow, I suddenly find myself with a free night home alone. Since we've started training Monday & Wednesday nights at the Hour Lounge (trainer sessions in a bar; we're clearly the coolest team in the state), I needed a rest day. Plus I just got dared into doing a trail run - - I am not a runner -- and so I had a short run as my only training activity right after work. Apparently Tuesday has moved into the "usually free at home & the housemates are at work" category.

This is my time for long-form experimental cooking.

I have long been a soup master -- I can make a big pot filled with odds and ends from the fridge that will feed my housemates for a week. I make my own vegetable stock, saving scraps from veggies (instead of composting them, onion heels, kale spines, withered leaves of fresh herbs, etc. etc. all go into a container in the freezer until I'm ready to make a batch) and adding aromatics to make unique, flavorful, and practically FREE broth. My staple soups include a potato & leek, a spicy red lentil & tomato, miso udon, a more newly discovered tom kha gai and more. Tonight, with elements missing to make any of those, I experimented with what I had in the pantry. The goal: a classic vegetable soup with the Jerusalem artichokes as a unique twist.
Jerusalem artichokes (or sunchokes) come in all sorts of interesting shapes!
If you haven't had them, they're amazing. Also called sunchokes, they're a succulent, crispy tuber, and they're delicious roasted, too.

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 onion
7 cloves of garlic
1 cup lentils
6 cups vegetable stock (approx.)
fresh rosemary
dried herbs, whatever kind you like
5 stalks celery, save the leaves
6 scallions
6-8 Jerusalem artichokes

Celery & sunchokes patiently waiting to be boiled
Chop everything to your preference. Sauté onion & garlic until clear. Add lentils, and stir frequently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Add broth and herbs, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat & cover, cooking at a low boil for half an hour.
Lentils simmering with the onions, garlic, and broth
Write a blog post about your recipe. When the half-hour timer goes off, add in the celery, the white part of the scallions, and the Jerusalem artichokes. Return to a low boil, and go finish your blog post, adding some photos this time.
Right after adding the chopped veggies
Cook for 20-30 more minutes, checking the lentils to see if they're soft and not crunchy. If I had barley at home right now, I'd definitely add a half-cup with 20 minutes to go. When the lentils are soft, add the green part of the scallions and the celery leaves. Salt & pepper to taste, and enjoy!

UPDATE: It's sweet & delicious!!


  1. I love having a soup or two in the fridge. Not only are they great on their own, but they make a great veggie side to dinner, or I often have them for breakfast. Thanks for posting, Lis. I've not used the sunchokes before. Where did you get yours?