One Last Wintry Soup

21 03 2013

Lately, I’ve been working on clearing out the stockpile of root vegetables from the CSA in my refrigerator.  I turned a backlog of potatoes, turnips, black radishes, parsnips, and leeks into a lovely vegetarian tartiflette (or veggiflette, as it was dubbed around here).  I’ve got plans for the approximately five kilos of carrots – I’m going to make this lentil hummus and serve it with a mountain of carrot sticks for a party this weekend.  I’d been meaning to make this Jerusalem artichoke soup for a while – I remembered that I had once made one with a little miso and that it was delightful – and then I got a box of shiitake mushrooms and their fate was sealed with the topinambours.

I glanced at Robuchon’s recipe for topinambour soup, and he suggested caramelizing a bit of honey with them before adding the liquid.  I thought a touch of sweetness sounded right, but I only have really strong, unique-flavored honeys at the moment, and I didn’t want to muddle the flavor too much.  A flash of inspiration hit me, surely by way of my dear friend Hannah: maple syrup!  I think it hit just the right note.


It is probably one of the healthiest things I’ve made all winter – with so much flavor from the topinambours and the shiitakes, and a velvety texture from the potatoes (yeah, I snuck some potatoes in there, too… and some leeks) it didn’t even need a drop of cream to finish it off, just a sprinkling of wonderful meaty mushrooms.

In slightly related news, I am pleased as punch to announce my participation in Ann Mah’s fun and helpful Tuesday Dinner series on her blog.  I shared one of my favorite clean-out-the-vegetable-drawer recipes, a mouthwatering spicy Indian dal.

Now here’s to warmer days and spring vegetables!

Sunchoke Soup with Miso and Shiitake

Earthy, hearty, and oh-so-healthy, this soup warms chilly nights. If you wanted to serve it with poached eggs or grilled tofu to up the protein content, well, I think that would be a lovely idea. Jerusalem artichokes are also known as sunchokes or, in France, topinambours.

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
1½ lbs. / 700 g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed clean and cut into chunks
3 small potatoes, scrubbed and roughly diced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. miso
2 tsp. maple syrup
1½ quarts / 1½ liters water

1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
9 oz. / 250 g shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
splash of sherry
splash of soy sauce

  1. Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes, season again, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to brown. Add the miso and maple syrup and stir to coat the vegetables evenly. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the Jerusalem artichokes and potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms release their water, the water evaporates, and the mushrooms begin to brown. Deglaze the pan with a splash each of sherry and soy sauce, and continue cooking until the liquid has once more evaporated. Scrape half the mushrooms into the soup pot and save the rest for garnish. For the most mushroom flavor, pour about ½ cup / 120 ml water into the skillet and scrape up all the brown fond from the bottom of the pan. Tip this into the soup pot as well.
  3. When the vegetables are soft, purée the soup, either in batches in a traditional blender or directly in the pot with an immersion blender. (You know which way I go.) If it’s thicker than you want, thin it out with a little water. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and serve piping hot with a few of the reserved mushrooms spooned on top.

Serves 4-6.

On this day in 2008: Baking Extravaganza, Act III (in which I make molten chocolate cakes in a toaster oven)

Originally published on Croque-Camille.



18 responses

21 03 2013

I am so making this, since Jerusalem artichokes are one of my favorite root vegetables! (And it also never occurred to me not to peel them, which is one of the most annoying and wasteful parts of them, but it looks like you didn’t, right?)

21 03 2013

nererue – Nope! I peeled them the first time I cooked them, which was a painstaking process. Then I saw that Robuchon didn’t peel them for his recipe, and I haven’t done it since!

21 03 2013

Love the combinations in this soup, so inventive and unlikely yet also (when you think about it) so natural. Thanks for stopping by my blog for Tuesday dinner!

21 03 2013

Jerusalem artichokes, shitakes, and miso – three of my favorites. Along with saying topinambour quietly to myself…

21 03 2013
Lindsey Tramuta (@LostNCheeseland)

I’m not sure which I like the sound of more, the soup or the lentil hummus you describe in the beginning! Either way, some awesome recommendations (especially since winter won’t quit!)

22 03 2013

brilliant! bring on the spring goodies!

22 03 2013

I used to get sunchokes but haven’t in a couple of years. I did find a great Ani Phyo recipe for miso shitake recently.

22 03 2013

Ann – Thank you for inviting me!

erin – I have to make a serious effort to call them anything but topinambour – it’s just so fun to say.

Lindsey – I heartily recommend both!

nancie – Hear hear!

Tammy – Cool, how were they prepared?

24 03 2013

soaked the mushrooms in braggs and olive oil. Spun the oil and miso in a blender – it was raw but very tasty and slightly warm.

24 03 2013

I had to look up Braggs – cider vinegar? Sounds very interesting, thanks!

23 03 2013

Oh!! You even mentioned me in the post! I adore you. And this looks so incredibly wonderful. The last time I had Jerusalem artichokes was at my 25th birthday dinner with my parents last year… and now I feel a bit wobbly.

P.S. Ah, Robuchon’s COOKBOOK. Not that he was at your place with you. Though I wouldn’t put it past you. Wait, is he still alive? I hope so. Otherwise I’ll sound really stupid. But if he is, I’ll also sound stupid for wondering whether he isn’t… I think I just lost the ballgame.

23 03 2013

Hannah – I always give credit where credit is due! 🙂 Yes, Joël Robuchon is alive, and we are BFFs, as you can see here.

27 03 2013
Inger Wilkerson

It can feel like such a chore sometimes to clean out the old veggies. But isn’t it wonderful when it turns into a great source of inspiration!

28 03 2013
Jill Colonna

Wow – that list of ingredients is warming me up just looking at it. Sherry and mushrooms is toe-curling enough but adding maple et al? Looks scrumptious and lovely to discover you through Ann Mah. Loved your guest post! Cheers, Jill

29 03 2013
Fiona Reilly (@nanchanglu)

A revelation on the no-peel Jerusalem artichokes – they are exorbitantly expensive here and by the time they’re peeled a shadow of their former selves! Wonderful falvour combination with miso/soy/shitake too.

1 04 2013

Inger – Absolutely! I get some of my best ideas trying to clean out the fridge! 🙂

Jill – Thank you! So glad you like the recipes!

Fiona – Thanks! And yes, I, too, found it revelatory to learn that I didn’t have to peel Jerusalem artichokes. So happy to be able to spread the word!

2 04 2013
phyllisflick (@phyllisflick)

Camille, I made this soup last night and it was delicious. I added a carrot or two and some parsley root because I had them on hand but otherwise I used your recipe and it was wonderful. I would never though of adding miso and honey. Merci beaucoup, I will definitely make it again!

3 04 2013

Phyllis – So happy to hear you liked it!

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