Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes) are an ingredient that I have often heard of, but never come across. I was pleasantly surprised to find them recently at our local farmers market. They are a species of sunflower. The part that we eat, called the tuber, resembles ginger root and has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. It serves as a wonderful substitute for potatoes in many dishes. They’re also a great source of potassium, iron and fiber.
2 lbs Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)
2 tsp white vinegar
3 tbsp soy butter
1 small white onion, chopped
2 leeks, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
7 cups vegetable broth, preferably homemade
3/4 cup coconut cream (scrape the cream from the top of a can of coconut milk)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Black Bread Croutons (mine were homemade, but you can toast some Pumpernickle bread slices in the oven with a little olive oil and sea salt)
In a large bowl, combine the vinegar with about 2 quarts of water. Peel the sunchokes and as you peel them, put them into the bowl of vinegar water to keep them from turning yellow/brown.
In a large stock pot over medium heat, melt the soy butter. Add the onion, leeks and garlic. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until the onions are translucent, but not browned. Drain and rinse the sunchokes. Cut them into 1/2-inch pieces, then add them to the saute. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the vegetable broth, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the sun chokes are tender. This should take about 45 minutes or so.
With an emersion blender (or using a regular blender in batches) puree the soup until it is smooth and no chunks are left. Season with sea salt and pepper, then stir in the coconut cream.
Ladle soup into a bowl, and garnish with parsley and black bread croutons.