For our second installment of “What the F*** is That and How Do I Cook It?” we have sunchokes. A sunchoke tastes similar to artichoke, but they are much less work. The first time I had sunchokes, my friend baked them in harissa and served with a drizzle of greek yogurt and they were super yumz. But James (my hubby) rejected the dish, saying he didn’t like the texture, like, right in front of my friend who cooked them.
For some reason, I could not handle the awkwardness of the situation and I compensated by eating waaayyy too many harissa sunchokes in an effort to spare the cook’s feelings. So reimagining the harissa sunchokes as a soup is my way of enjoying the dish again and sparing James their texture (which I did not think was bad at all, for the record). As I was serving this soup to James, he was telling me that he wouldn’t like it because he didn’t like the sunchokes the first time, doesn’t really like artichokes, and blah blah blah… then he had a spoonful and three minutes later, the entire bowl was gone and James asked if there was more. So how do you like them sunchokes? Beautiful bowls by Marite Acosta www.mariteacosta.com
VEGAN SUNCHOKE SOUP WITH HARISSA CROUTONS
5 SUNCHOKES, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
8 CLOVES OF GARLIC, PEELED AND MINCED
1 ONION, DICED
1 TABLESPOON OF BUTTER (or you could use olive oil)
3 CUPS OF VEGETABLE STOCK (could also use chicken stock, if you are not vegan)
1 CUP OF WATER
1 CAN OF NORTHERN BEANS, DRAINED.
PRESERVED LEMONS, for garnish
SALT & PEPPER, to taste
WHITE BREAD, crusts removed and cubed
1 TABLESPOON OF HARISSA
1 TABLESPOON OF OLIVE OIL
- Heat oven to 350F
Peel 5 medium sized sunchokes and cut sunchokes into inch pieces.
Sautee the garlic and onion in butter until fragrant and slightly browned.
In a soup pot, add 3 cups of vegetable (or chicken) stock + 1 cup of water.
Add the cut up sunchokes, sautéed garlic, and onion to the stock, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer + cover. Simmer until the sunchokes pieces are very tender (about 1 hour).
Drain your can of great northern beans and rinse with water, drain again. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cut the crust off 4 slices of bread and then cut the bread into approximately one inch squares. Put the squared bread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and put in the oven for about 10 minutes or until toasted.
While bread is in the oven, mix 1 Tablespoon of olive oil with 1 Tablespoon of harissa so you have a liquidy paste.
After 10 minutes, remove bread from the oven (they should be hard like croutons). Put them in a large bowl and pour the harissa mix over the croutons. Toss to coat well.
Put the harissa croutons on the baking tray again and put back into the oven. After 5 minutes, shake the croutons on the baking tray and then bake another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Note: Remember that every oven is different. If your oven runs hot, keep an eye on the croutons to make sure they don’t burn!
Slice up some preserved lemon into thin strips.
Once sunchokes are tender, add beans to soup and put everything through a blender until it is very smooth (you might have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your blender). Add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish the soup with the harissa croutons and preserved lemon strips.
Serve and enjoy!