Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sunchoke soup at 6am

What is one to do when they stay out later than planned on Cinco de Mayo, and didn't make the food they planned on for the rest of the week? Get up at 6:30am and make it anyways!

I know it sounds crazy, but I've been trying to cut back on frozen meals and eating out, and had sunchokes from the Ballard Market that needed to be used so... soup-making at 6am it is. Awesome. I did the prep work and played with the recipe to get it going quickly, then showered while it simmered, then packaged it up and off to work I went! Oddly not the first time I've made soup before work, but that's another story for another day...

Now I've never cooked, or even eaten sunchokes. They're a funny little root vegetable that look like ginger root but are rumored to taste like artichokes. I love, love, love artichokes but hate the amount of work and time it takes to both cook and eat them so was super excited to try these. The verdict? When cooked, they are potato-like in texture, but the taste... slightly more mild then artichoke hearts, YES! I wish I had discovered these earlier in the season as I would definitely like to experiment with them more.

So, the soup... even though I halved the recipe, I accidentally added the full amount of chili powder and boy you can really taste it! I calmed the kick down with some Crème Fraiche (also courtesy of the market), and the artichoke-like flavor was definitely dominant. Salted sunflower seeds helped bring out the nutty flavor but between the spicy kick and the unique flavors of cumin and coriander, the soup is almost Indian in taste. A bowl of roasted chickpeas with lemon and cumin would actually be the perfect accompaniment for a light and satisfying lunch. It's also thick - really thick - and unlike most soups, actually filled me up for most of the afternoon.

I'll keep this one on file, but next time want try making a soup with a different assortment of spices to really play on the artichoke-y flavors. More garlic, some lemon juice, maybe a little parmesan... everything you would want when eating a real artichoke...mmmmm...

The Recipe
(as adopted from The Kitchy Kitchen)
Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

1/8 cup olive oil, plus two tablespoons
1 onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed of green leaves and coarsely chopped
1 lb sunchokes, cubed
Fresh-ground black pepper
5 cups low sodium chicken broth

1. Scrub the sunchokes well, removing dirt and roots. Cut into cubes, coat it in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast in a 425 F oven for 30 minutes, or until soft.
2. While the sunchokes are roasting, heat a large pot over medium heat, add a 1/8 cup of olive oil, add the onion, coriander, cumin, chili powder, pepper flakes, and garlic. Cook on low heat until onions are soft (8-12 minutes). When very soft, but not browned, add the cauliflower and 4 cups chicken broth. Continue cooking over low heat until sunchokes are ready
3. Add sunchokes and additional cup of chicken broth. Raise the heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes.

4. Pour the soup into a blender, blend the soup until smooth. Add water or chicken broth if it feels too thick. Top with cheese, pepper and sunflower seeds (optional).


  1. WOW! This sounds sooo good! I may have to try this with veggie broth! I have never tried sunchokes either, I'm glad you like them!

  2. Carla, they are so good! If you like artichokes, you are going to love them!