From the Farm – Rosy Smit, Camp Korey Gardnersunchockes

Sunchockes, otherwise known as Jerusalem artichokes, look like small knobby potatoes but are sweeter, nuttier and crunchier. The part you eat grows off the root system of the plant. You typically won’t see them in the grocery store, but sunchockes can usually be found in the fall/winter at farmer markets, in your Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) box or in specialty food stores.

The plants grow like their sunflower cousins, reaching close to 12 feet. They contain almost no starch and are an excellent substitute for water chestnuts in recipes, cooked into delicious soups, broiled or baked.  High in fiber and low in calories, sunchokes minimally affect blood sugar due to their primary carbohydrate being Inulin, and thus are considered a diabetic-friendly carb.  If not harvested, sunchokes will live in the same spot, but the quality of tubers will deteriorate.  At Camp Korey save tubers over the winter and replant every year in a different spot in the garden as part of our annual crop rotation to keep the soil healthy.

To the Table – Tana Mielke, Executive Chef
Sunchokes can be transformed in to rich gratins, silky purees and soups, simply roasted or raw. With all of their health properties, it is so easy, and I definitely encourage you, to sub these tubers in for potatoes in your grandmother’s famous cheesy potato casserole (because all grandmothers have this dish in their repertoire, right?) or any of your family’s holiday favorite potato dishes.

One of my favorite ways to enjoy sunchokes is as a silky, smooth, creamy puree along with sautéed winter greens and a perfectly roasted breast of chicken, grilled pork chop, juicy steak or even your holiday goose.

Sunchoke Puree

1lb Sunchokes (washed and peeled)
1 Shallot (julienne)
3 cloves Garlic
3 T Butter
1 C Milk
Water
4-5 Sprigs Thyme
Salt and White Pepper

In a saucepan over medium heat, sweat garlic and shallot in butter until softened.
Add sunchokes, milk, thyme sprigs, water, pinch of salt and pinch of white pepper.
Add water until the sunchokes are sitting in the pot like little icebergs (10% showing)
Increase heat and bring up to a simmer.
Reduce heat and cover for about 15 minutes.*
Remove lid and let any excess liquid reduce.
Remove thyme sprigs and pour contents in to a blender (a food processor is also fine, but I find blenders to get it smoother)
Sample and season to taste.

*Note: Although I never encourage you to overcook your food, because of sunchokes low starch they will not become gummy like potatoes if overcooked, if you do forget about them, it will not destroy the final outcome.