Jerusalem artichoke soup with bacon and rye croutons
Jerusalem artichokes makes the most delicious soup; it’s one of my favourite winter meals. Jerusalem artichoke are knobbly little things that look a bit like ginger, but taste like a cross between potato, mushroom and garlic!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 900 g Jerusalem artichokes peeled and chopped
- 1 large large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3½ cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- 2-3 rashers streaky bacon chopped
- 2 slices rye bread chopped into small cubes
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup milk or cream
- juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup parsley or chives chopped
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add onion, artichokes and garlic. Sauté for 4–5 minutes until onion is soft. Add chicken stock and nutmeg, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 20 minutes or until artichokes are soft — test them with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a fry pan and fry bacon for 2–3 minutes to render out some fat. Add bread cubes and continue to fry for a further 2–3 minutes or until bacon and bread are crispy. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Transfer soup to a blender with milk or cream and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Season to taste – depending on saltiness of chicken stock, it may not need salt.
To serve, divide hot soup between bowls and top with bacon, croutons and chopped parsley or chives.
Celeriac is another vegetable, like Jerusalem artichokes, that are well worth seeking out. It looks like a rough-skinned swede with thin celery stalks shooting out the top and it smells and tastes like celery. It can be eaten raw or roasted and makes a delicious creamy soup. Simply substitute the artichokes in this recipe for the same amount of celeriac.
Find Jerusalem artichokes at farmers’ markets and some food stores. However, these artichokes are also incredibly easy to grow. Seek them out to try something different – you won’t regret it. You can mix other vegetables into the soup, such as carrot, celery or pumpkin if you like.
To make this soup gluten-free, make sure the stock you use is gluten-free and use your favourite gluten-free bread instead of the rye. For dairy-free, use coconut milk or coconut cream instead of regular milk or cream.