Now to get seasonal.
Jerusalem artichokes are strange things, knobbly tubers from the root of a species of sunflower plant, they have neither got any connection to Jerusalem, originating from North America, nor are they artichokes… But hey, they make great soup. And they are abundant right now, in fact, once you plant them, it’s difficult to get rid of them and year upon year you’ll have a bumper crop. So it goes without saying that these lumpy roots are just what we should all be eating on these cold January days.
Soup is one of my favourite things to make, it’s easy and economical, and you can create a satisfying lunch out of very little in almost no time. I love this soup because it is so incredibly simple, yet it has a seriously deep and interesting flavour. The artichokes look light, crisp and watery when they are peeled and chopped, yet they seem to create a creamy, deeply savoury and effortlessly elegant soup. There are no bells and whistles on this one, I like the flavour of the artichokes to be the main attraction, so I’ve kept it simple with a little twist at the end to emphasise the creaminess… the vegan way.
To serve 6-8.
30 mins preparation and cooking.
- 1 medium onion (15p)
- 1 leek (62p)
- 2 cloves of garlic (10p)
- Some oil for frying (2p)
- 1 kg of artichokes (£1.95)
- 2 medium carrots (20p)
- 1.5l of vegetable stock* (36p)
- A sprig of fresh rosemary or a pinch of dried. (<1p)
- 1/2 cup of ground almonds (85p)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
In a large pan, heat the oil. Roughly chop the onion, leek and garlic and lightly fry for about 5 minutes. While the pan is sizzling, peel the artichokes (don’t worry about getting every scrap of skin off, they are knobbly and a pain to peel) and scrub or peel the carrots. Pour the stock into the pan, add the large chunks of carrot and artichoke and the sprig of rosemary, then simmer with a lid on for about 20 mins until the veg is tender. Take the rosemary out and use a hand blender to blend the soup until smooth. Lastly add the ground almonds and blend again to incorporate them, the soup will thicken and appear creamier. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This is excellent served with crusty bread (especially a seeded spelt loaf) and that’s about it… it’s soup, good soup… enjoy it.
This soup works out at 71p per (generous) serving, with all ingredients costed at organic retail prices
I first posted this 2 years ago in January 2014. It’s a great recipe, and with a bag of Jerusalem artichokes landing on my doorstep again yesterday, I decided to search for it and make it again, this time I took some photographs. I’ve tweaked the blurb a little but essentially it’s the same soup, seasonal as ever.
* A word about stock. I don’t tend to make my own stock, being a vegetarian, it seems like a waste of good vegetables! I’ll do it for special occasions but generally I’ll use a good organic stock cube or two. I really like the Kallo range of stock cubes because they produce a variety of vegetable stocks for different recipes, such as mushroom stock, garlic and herb stock and French onion stock; they help the vegetarian avoid the trap of having all recipes taste faintly similar! Kallo also make an excellent ‘very low salt’ vegetable stock cube, so when I’m using more than one, as in this recipe, I’ll use the low salt cube with another flavoured cube to keep more control of the salt going into my meal; a habit I adopted while cooking for my babies… but now I just like it that way.