I am absolutely smitten with Jerusalem artichokes. I use them in everything. I had toyed with them on menus in my restaurants in the past and have written about them in my latest book, Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes (John Wiley and Sons), but I have really fallen head over heels this season with these ugly ducklings of the vegetable world. I am putting them to use in soups, gratins and purees, and for Hanukkah I am putting them in my latkes. Yum!

The name Jerusalem artichoke is actually a misnomer. These bumpy tubers have nothing to do with Jerusalem, nor are they a member of the artichoke family. In fact, they are actually the root of the sunflower plant, which is why they are also known as sunchokes. They have a nutty, earthy flavor similar to an artichoke and when paired with sweet roasted parsnips, it is a match made in soup heaven. Jerusalem Artichokes are in season twice a year, in the late spring and again the fall.

Roasted Parsnip and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Instructions
✔ 3 large parsnips (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and cut into large pieces
✔ Olive oil
✔ 1/2-pound Jerusalem artichokes (about 5)
✔ Juice of 1/2 lemon
✔ 2 medium shallots, chopped
✔ 2 garlic cloves, chopped
✔ 1/2 cup dry white wine such as chardonnay
✔ 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
✔ 3 cups Chicken Stock
✔ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
✔ Suggested Garnishes
✔ 1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or hazelnut oil (optional)

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Drizzle the parsnip pieces with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the parsnips on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Transfer the parsnips to a large sauce pan or stock pot, or slow cooker.
3. While the parsnips are roasting, peel and dice the Jerusalem artichokes. Place the pieces in a bowl of cold water with the lemon juice to keep them artichokes from turning dark.
4. Place a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Sauté the shallots until they are slightly browned and soft. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the wine to the pan and cook the mixture for 3 minutes. Add the wine-shallot mixture to the saucepan or slow cooker with the parsnips. Drain the Jerusalem artichoke pieces and add them to the saucepan or slow cooker. Add the thyme and chicken stock to the mixture.
6. Simmer for 1 hour or cook on HIGH in the slow cooker for 3 hours until the Jerusalem artichokes and parsnips are very soft.
7. Puree the soup in batches or with an immersion blender until the soup is very creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped toasted hazelnuts and a drizzle of toasted hazelnut oil.


Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering featuring Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck. Founder of the adventurous, gourmet kosher Shallots restaurants in Chicago and New York and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes .

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