Some months ago I was looking for an easy and light dinner, and ended up buying a box of premium brand ready-to-eat Jerusalem artichoke soup. Before heating the soup I googled its manufacturer, and found their recipe site, which suggested a bacon-tomato topping for the soup. Both S and I were positively surprised by the smooth texture and exquisite taste, but being the foodie I am, the thought of eating canned soup felt wrong.
Our first encounter with Jerusalem artichokes happened in the middle of the summer, and I assumed it would be trivial to buy them from any market. I did immediately find a few plastic bags full of semi-rotten tubers in the nearby supermarket, but I wasn’t ready to settle for anything but perfect. Soon my trusty greengrocer explained that Jerusalem artichokes are a fall species, and that fresh tubers start to appear in stores in late October.
A couple of weeks ago I found a small bag of tiny fresh tubers, and made my first batch of Jerusalem artichoke soup. Peeling the tubers was a pain, as they are quite similar in appearance to fresh ginger. Peeled tubers also brown quickly if exposed to air, so they need to be put in water as soon as possible. The small, gnarly and uneven tubers took a lot of time to peel, and I actually made a mental note not to make the soup from scratch ever again. Because the soup ended up being really good, I decided to give the Jerusalem artichokes an another go when I saw a batch of big tubers at the greengrocer’s. This time I only washed them carefully, and scrubbed the worst parts off, leaving the skin. This saved a lot of time and effort, and unless a glutton for punishment, I suggest doing the same.
I haven’t bought sun dried tomatoes since I first made oven dried tomatoes some two years ago. They’re cheaper, have less oil and taste every bit as good as store bought ones – if not much better. The recipe is in Finnish, but basically you halve the tomatoes, brush them lightly with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, coriander and balsamico, and bake in an oven for 4-9 hours using the lowest temperature setting, and the door slightly cracked open allowing the steam to escape.
Jerusalem artichoke soup with sun dried tomatoes and bacon topping
1 kg (2.2 lbs) Jerusalem artichokes
1 medium-to-big parsnip
2 dl (a scant cup) cream
salt, pepper to taste
egg yolks for thickening (optional)
150 g (5 oz) bacon
2 dl (a scan cup) of sun dried tomatoes, or a couple of fresh tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes carefully, or peel them. Peel the parsnip and potatoes, and cut in large cubes to speed up cooking. Cover the vegetables with chicken broth and cook until soft, about 10-20 minutes. Keep the cooking liquid.
Pur? the vegetables with the cream, and add cooking liquid until the soup runs smoothly. Season with salt and pepper. Use egg yolks if you need to thicken the soup. Add finely cut parsley.
Cut the bacon into strips, and fry with crushed garlic until nicely browned. Add the tomatoes. Spoon the bacon-tomato mixture on top of the soup and add croutons. Decorate with parsley leaves.