Food + Wine
Sunchokes, done up all Fancy and stuff
You know when you just feel like you’re stale? In a rut. Plain Jane. Dull as a door nail. Tired? I’ve felt like that for a long time – It started before the holidays when I injured my foot and had to scale back on my workouts (a.k.a- my sanity). I have been forced to sit a lot more than I’m used to, not walk or run, and wear a lot of dumb shoes that don’t come with heels. For over a month. And I’M LOSING MY MIND. I just don’t feel like myself. And I don’t know how to fix it.
So…instead of trying to think of more ways to fix this lumpy, broken me (I’ve considered dying my hair, shaving it, and/or changing my name to Fancy), I decided to go to the store (the super fancy one) and just pick out something to cook that’s out of my normal repertoire.
Radishes? Kohlrabi? Long Beans?
I grabbed a bag of sunchokes (the more you say that word, the more it sounds like I made it up. Try it.)
‘Yes. Yes! You get me, Sunchoke. You understand what I’m going through! You’re not potato, not artichoke, not pretty, not shiny. You’re dull, weird and a little craggy – people think you’re ginger. Perfect!!!’
Sunchokes, or Jerusalem Artichokes, or sunroots, or earth apples…(see, even my craggy friend has an identity crisis) are actually a member of the sunflower family. They’re not Israeli, and they’re not artichokes but the reason why they’re called Jerusalem artichokes is left up to historians. All I know is that they’re DELICIOUS. I ate some raw and they taste like a savory apple.
So, here’s what I did with my new little confused friend – I just hope my makeover made him feel better about himself, (poor guy, just hiding in a corner behind the carrots). Who knows? Maybe something or someone out there will scoop me up and make me into something Fancy too.
(Serves 2 as a side dish)
(This is a very simple way to ‘fancy’ up this veggie. I didn’t want to add too many ingredients to it, because the flavor is so amazing and subtle, but you’re more than welcome to!)
…and immediately place them in a bowl of cold water with a juiced lemon to prevent browning.
-Cut any large sunchokes into smaller pieces, making all of them about 1 inch in size.
-Drain well and place in a medium stock pot. Cover with 1 cup of chicken broth or stock, or as much as it takes to almost cover the veggies – (this depends on the size of your pot)
–Bring to a boil and cover, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the veggies are fork tender. (*Keep an eye on them and add more broth/stock as necessary if they happen to soak up too much liquid. Mine ended up being done at the exact time that the liquid was all absorbed.)
-Transfer to a food processor (cool them down a bit if your processor doesn’t allow hot things) and add one big spoonful of crème fraîche* (about 1 TB worth, more if you want it richer) and purée until very smooth.
-Serve warm or room temperature.
(*please don’t go out and buy crème fraîche just for the tablespoon needed for this recipe – If you have sour cream, use that! But crème fraîche is richer and thicker and does have a different flavor (a little goes a LONG way) so I highly recommend you playing around with it if you’re unfamiliar!)