A classy, velvety soup from The Borough Market Cookbook
The flavour of jerusalem artichokes is remarkable—they’ve a unique combination of earthy, sweet and mineral. Still, all soups need additional textures and contrasting flavours to ensure everyone remains interested after the third spoonful. Here, surplus peelings are roasted to create croutons, a few slices of raw artichoke are added for further crunch, and the soup is finished with a swirl of cooling creme fraiche and a drop or two of hazelnut oil from Fitz Fine Foods. This classy, velvety soup and its embellishments can be made in advance, to be reheated and assembled at the last minute.
1 onion, chopped
2 medium leeks, trimmed, finely sliced and washed
1kg jerusalem artichokes, 900g of them peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (skin reserved),
100g unpeeled 250g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks (skin reserved)
6 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
Parmesan rind (optional)
1.3 litres hot vegetable or chicken stock
Hazelnut oil, for drizzling
100g full-fat creme fraiche
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Chopped chives or parsley (optional)
Preheat the oven to 240C. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, leek and a pinch of flaky sea salt and cook for 4-5 mins until softened but not coloured, stirring frequently.
Put the chunks of artichoke and peeled potato in the saucepan, along with the thyme leaves, garlic and parmesan rind (if using). Reduce the temperature to low, place a lid on top and cook gently for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Pour the stock into the pan and simmer for a further 30 mins until the artichokes are completely soft. Use a hand-held blender, food processor or stand blender to puree the soup until velvety smooth.
Just after the artichoke and potatoes are added to the saucepan, toss the vegetable peelings in 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil then scatter them over a baking tray in one layer—use a fork to spread the peelings out so they roast and crisp up, rather than clump and become soggy. Place towards the top of the hot oven and roast for 10-15 mins until golden and crisp, shuffling them around after about 8 mins. Remove, sprinkle with lots of salt and a few drops of hazelnut oil, mix, and try to avoid eating them before the soup is ready. If making in advance, store in an air-tight container at room temperature.
Check the soup is at a desirable consistency—it should be neither too watery nor thick like a purée; cook to evaporate liquid or add a splash more as necessary. Once happy, season generously with salt and black pepper and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a generous swirl of hazelnut oil in each bowl, plus a scattering of chives or parsley (if using) and a handful of the peeling crisps. Finally, slice the reserved artichokes very thinly (with a mandoline if you have one), and add a few to each bowl to garnish.
Recipe: Ed Smith from The Borough Market Cookbook (Hodder & Stoughton, £25)
Image: Issy Croker