Yes, I know, we are in the heart of summer and even though I read everywhere about stone fruit recipes and ice creams and salads, I dare post a recipe for soup. I am compelled to do so for no other reason than the fact that I recently found some nice sunchokes at my local market. And sunchokes simply beg to be creamed into a scrumptious velouté (fancy word for creamy soup). I found this out when savoring (and then making at home) an unforgettable truffle sunchoke velouté on a truffle-centric trip to Dordogne a few Februaries ago.
I have a thing for roots (more on roots here)… and this one has a very unusual, delicate flavor, similar to that of an artichoke; and for good reason, it is also called Jerusalem Artichoke. In France, it is one of what they call the “légumes oubliés”, the forgotten vegetables… Who new rutabaga, parsnips and kohlrabi could be so poetic? They’re often winter root vegetables used a lot for watery soups during World War II. For this reason, my mother has a very unhappy association with a lot of those vegetables, one that takes her back to times of poverty and struggle. Perhaps this is the case for a lot of people of her generation, which may be why those vegetables became “forgotten”. It could also be because they do not lend themselves to mass production and distribution. They’re difficult to cultivate on a large scale, take longer to cook or prepare. So in our society of immediate gratification, those veggies were left behind. Today, more and more people want more variety in vegetables, new flavors, and the forgotten veggies are making a comeback!
I had never made sunchokes for Pablo before last week, he was very unfamiliar with the taste, and only took a couple of spoons of the soup. It’s a matter of trying again and again (remember, offer something at least 15 times before you rule that your child doesn’t like it!) The grown-ups loved it so much they were quite happy to eat what Pablo didn’t… It is amazing to me that this beast of a root can turn into such a beauty of a soup!
I may be spoiled in California with most vegetables being available local, organic and year around. Is it the case where you are? Does anyone else cook roots (except for beets) in summer? Would love to hear about your recipes!