Sunchokes. Also knows as a Jerusalem Artichoke which is certainly not an artichoke nor is it from Jerusalem. Makes total sense right? Sunchokes are these strange little tubers that originate form North America and was cultivated by the Native Americans. The plant was discovered as early as 1603, when Samuel de Champlain (the same guy Lake Champlain is named after) described the root to taste like an artichoke, purportedly starting the naming confusion that has haunted the vegetable since its debut. To add to the linguistic chaos, they’re known as topinambour in Europe (which was a mispronunciation of an indigenous Brazilian tribe that was brought to France for reasons that I probably shouldn’t mention). In the 1960’s, a few marketing wizards thought it would be in the best interest of the foodie community to rename them. Hence the birth of the modern sunchoke. Now that we’ve gotten through the glorious introduction of this weird little tasty vegetable we can get onto the recipe.
In your recent Winter CSA share we included some potatoes, leeks, sunchokes and kale which I’ve used in the recipe below. I have to admit that I’ve never eaten a sunchoke prior to yesterday but was up to the challenge of pulling a recipe out of my little bag of tricks. I was trying to not make another soup for you but with the recent cold weather and frosty Washington mornings, I was craving soup. I’ve also included a little recipe for a Kale and Hazelnut Pesto that works quite well with the nutty characteristic of the sunchokes. I threw a little on top with a tiny bit of black truffle olive oil. The end result was quite tasty.