Cream of Jerusalem Artichoke and Celeriac Soup

by Jenn on February 8, 2012

in Gluten Free,Photography,Soups,Vegetarian

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Forgive me for yet another soup recipe, but we are going on week two of not even coming close to escaping sub-freezing temps here, and soup just has that way of warming you  up – the wind is blustering outside, frost snowflakes are whipping at your face and you realize that you are doubting the efficacy of all that cold weather gear wrapped around you, wondering if you’ve accidentally misplaced yourself and suddenly ended up amidst an Antarctic expedition in a condition 1 blizzard.  Ok, clearly I am being overly dramatic. But it did dip to below -20º C (-4º F) in several parts of Switzerland last weekend, and in my book, that’s cold.  And that type of cold calls for soup.

As I sit here in my home, safely sheltered from the unforgiving chill outside, I remember that I love winter.  I love it for getting an excuse to cuddle up with my husband and a cup of tea, under a blanket together watching a movie.  I love the familiar comfort of wearing my grandmother’s woolen scarf and knowing that even though she was buried a long time ago and her body rests on the other side of the world, her spirit is always with me, and that scarf will always bring me the happiest memories of her.  And I love winter for the way my breath decorates the air with a miniature cloud upon every exhale, as if the very air were spinning a tale to tell us all by a warm fire.  And I love it for the snow, and the way it sparkles in the sunshine.

View from La Berneuse, Leysin

The sun may taunt us with her false lure of warmth – but up in the mountains out snowshoeing with new-found friends the sunny glow reflects back at us everywhere we turn, and those sub-freezing temperatures can actually feel downright pleasant. See my husband is clearly having a good time :)

Snowshoeing in the Alps

Winter can be a blast of beauty and fun.  But when our wintry adventures are done and we are back in the warm comfort of home, soup sounds like just the perfect cure for red cheeks and shiny noses.

I also enjoy soups because they are often some of the easiest recipes to convert to gluten free. Several need no converting at all, and are already naturally gluten free – my favorite type of GF meal.  Usually the most a soup requires to become GF is a flour substitution, and in most cases any old all purpose GF flour will do just fine.  This soup, however, needs no such converting – made with celery root, jerusalem artichokes, some wine and cream, the simplicity of the soup highlights the best flavors of the root vegetables.

You may remember my celery root adventures earlier this year where I roasted them with parsnips – and while that was tasty, I wasn’t completely blown away with how they came out. So this time I decided to pair them with jerusalem artichokes (topinambours en français), which despite their name are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem.  In fact, they are more related to a sunflower than anything else, and I believe come in beige or redder varieties.

Celeriac Jerusalem Artichokes

The most work with either of these vegetables is cleaning/peeling them.  Celery root does not take kindly to a vegetable peeler (at least mine), and so I find it much easier to use a knife to trim off the gnarly exterior.  For the jerusalem artichokes, however,  I have yet to find an “easy” way to prep them.  Because they are rather knobby like ginger, my peeler doesn’t have the easiest time getting into all of the nooks and crannies of their unusual shape.  If you have a choice at the market, I’d pick up the ones that look the most cylindrical to you as that will do the best for reducing prep time.  Else, maybe just chop them in strategic places to make peeling them easier, or find a magic vegetable peeler.  However you go about it, the effort is worth it though.  Their flavor is light and mild, and they are quite versatile, as they can be eaten raw in salads, or cooked into soups, purées, and the like.  I felt they would pair wonderfully with celery root to make a comforting bowl of creamy wintry warmth – garnished with an arugula pesto and some homemade croutons, and the soup was perfect :)

Leysin Sunset

Also submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays