Saturday, February 9, 2013

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Squash Soup

At this time of year we are really enjoying the Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) that we grew last summer, especially in hearty and elegant soups. The string of cold frosty mornings have sweetened the tubers in the ground and they are crisp and delicious.

Jerusalem Artichoke and Roasted Squash Soup
We eat them raw in salads or pureed with other vegetables in velvety soups. Last week I made a wonderful soup with roasted Musque de Provence, a gorgeous French heirloom winter squash, Jerusalem artichokes, onion and a bit of pipin apple.

Cast iron cookware is perfect for a slow saute for soup
See my recipe for creamy no dairy soup featuring Jerusalem artichokes and just add squash instead of the carrots in the recipe. Try adding a few chunks of apple too. The flavors blended beautifully.

Growing Jerusalem Artichokes: Free Food!
Growing Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) is easy and they are very prolific. That's why I call them "free food".  I'm constantly amazed at the tasty bounty they provide with very little effort on my part. Read my blog about growing them, (including how to manage their spreading), which includes a recipe for sauteing them with mushrooms.

Plant them in spring (they are frost tender) and begin harvesting in the fall, preferably after frosts have begun.

Jerusalem artichokes (sunflower family) are native to North America

Cooking with Cast Iron
And by the way, I love my cast iron Lodge combination cooker in the photo above. The lid is a saute pan and the 3 quart pot is fantastic for delivering even heat when sauteing vegetables, and cheap too (when you compare to high-end dutch ovens). These things will last forever with the proper care. Cooks respect their quality and simplicity (no they are not paying me to say this- really!).

Try finding Lodge cookware at your local hardware store as they may be cheaper there, than in a cookware shop.  At our house we are big fans of cast iron cooking, and I confess to owning a big, beautiful, blue Staub dutch oven, besides our Lodge pieces.

But I'm still trying to forget what we paid for it- ouch.

My niece, the talented food blogger and printmaker, Janina Larenas got us hooked on cast iron. I know there are more of you out there with a favorite cast iron piece- am I right?

Photos: Patricia Larenas, Urban Artichoke

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