A tuber of a native American sunflower, originally cultivated by the indigenous people of North America. The vegetable came to Europe via Italy where it was named ‘girasole’ (sunflower), which the English turned into ‘Jerusalem’ (The artichoke bit is still a mystery!). When eaten raw they have a juicy crispness like a water chestnut, and are delicious in stir fries. They retain a firm texture when cooked and are delicious when roasted.
400g Jerusalem Artichokes
2 Bay leaves
1 litre Vegetable Stock
2 tbsp Crème Fraiche
1 pinch Nutmeg
First wash and finely slice your leeks and then melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the leeks and leave to soften for over a low to medium heat for 15mins, stirring regularly. Rinse and chop the jerusalem artichokes and add to the leeks and cook for a few minutes. Add the bay leaves and stock and simmer till the artichokes are tender. Blitz the soup with a hand blender till smooth and season to taste. Perfect as is; or continue with the Spinach Cream addition if you feel so inclined.
To make the spinach cream, melt a small knob of butter in a pan and add the spinach and soften. Squeeze any juice out of the spinach with a spoon against the side of the pan and drain away then add the crème fraiche, pinch of nutmeg and salt and blitz. Serve the soup with a couple of spoonfuls of the spinach cream on top.