Sunchokes or Jerusalem Artichokes, are actually the roots of a Sunflower, native to the Americas and cultivated by the indigenous peoples here long before Europeans arrived. I love the idea of eating something that someone discovered eons ago just because they realized that the roots (like the seeds) might taste good.
When you see sunchokes in the market it is easy to mistake them for ginger roots. Eaten raw, they are crunchy and slightly nutty. But once cooked, sunchokes definitely take on an artichoke flavor. After looking around at several recipes I decided to roast them with olive oil and rosemary and add them to some dried lima beans I had just soaked. It created a wonderfully creamy soup without using any dairy and still felt lusciously satisfying.
Sunchoke, Rosemary and Lima Bean Soup
1/2 sunchokes, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups lima beans (soaked, cooked) with at least 1 cup of their liquid
OR 2 cups frozen lima beans and 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, grated
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400. Thoroughly clean sunchokes using a vegetable scrub brush to remove all dirt. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and rosemary and bake for 30 minutes until tender. In sauce pan heat remaining olive oil and saute onion and garlic on low heat until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add grated ginger and pinch of salt and cook another 2 minutes. Add roasted sunchokes, beans and liquid. Add additional water in order to cover all. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and add salt and pepper. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 3-5 minutes. Process half in blender, puree well and add back to soup. Serve immediately.