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French Fridays with Dorie: Jerusalem artichoke soup with parsley-walnut pesto

We’re working with Jerusalem artichokes again this week for French Fridays with Dorie. Despite the name, these ugly root vegetables are NOT artichokes. Also known as sunchokes they are a member of the sunflower family (their flowers are similar in appearance). We’ve roasted Jerusalem artichokes for French Fridays previously so I was fortunate enough to know where to find them for this week’s recipe.

Knowing that this soup would most likely not be the prettiest (it’s kinda beige), Dorie suggests serving this with a parsley coulis which is basically parsley and olive oil. Before I realised it, I was making this in my full-sized food processor and try as it might, it simply would not make a “coulis-like” substance. It was more like oil with bits of parsley in it… So I threw in some chopped walnuts and whizzed it up to become a walnut-parsley pesto. It worked well – the nuts brought more of a depth of flavour to the soup too. Plus, it’s really pretty!

Parsley walnut pesto on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe soup itself is fairly bland – it does need a kick of flavour (and, well, colour too!). According to Dorie, sunchokes were one of the very few vegetables available in markets after World War II and so many French people think of it like the Irish think of potatoes… It’s not been a very popular vegetable until recently when it’s started appearing on menus in various guises like soups and purées.

Jerusalem artichoke soup wtih walnut pesto on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis soup contains sunchokes, onions, leeks and celery so it’s more on the green than the beige side of the colour spectrum but it definitely needed the pop of colour from the coulis pesto.

Sunchoke soup with walnut pesto on eatlivetravelwrite.comFaced with cooking sunchokes again, I’d make this soup for sure. It was more flavourful than the roasted version of the vegetable and easier to fancy up with add-ins.

Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s Jerusalem artichoke soup with parsley coulis here or on p 76 of Around my French Table.

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18 Responses to French Fridays with Dorie: Jerusalem artichoke soup with parsley-walnut pesto

  1. Adriana November 7, 2014 at 06:36 #

    I have similar problems with my food processors for making coulis, in general. The crunch from the walnuts in the pesto must have been nice with the soup.

  2. Liz November 7, 2014 at 07:28 #

    I attempted a mini batch of the coulis and had the same problem…I love your solution. Glad you enjoyed!

  3. Mr. Neil November 7, 2014 at 07:51 #

    I think we should grow sunchokes in the garden next summer…if we can find a suitably sunny spot. Beautiful – and something to eat at the end of the season.

    The soup was decidedly liven up by a buttery, buttery, slightly nutty Chardonnay from California.

    • Teresa November 9, 2014 at 03:15 #

      They can be a little invasive, though, so you have to be careful where you put them.

  4. Katie November 7, 2014 at 08:44 #

    I love your solution for the coulis! Mine came out sort of the same way and I ended up just adding water to make it blend better. The walnut pesto idea is much more elegant and tastier!

  5. Kathy November 7, 2014 at 21:16 #

    I really enjoyed the rich flavor of this soup…creamy and delicious! Yours looks lovely with the parsley walnut pesto! And it sounds so tasty!
    I just planted some along the woods that line my yard…I read that they are very invasive, so I didn’t want to plant them in my garden. Happy Friday!

  6. Betsy November 7, 2014 at 22:11 #

    I tried making the coulis in my mini-processor and ended up with the same texture you described. I liked this, especially the velvety texture.

  7. Ei November 8, 2014 at 01:24 #

    I spotted Jerusalem artichokes at the supermarket for the first time yesterday, so I’ll catch up on both relevant recipes in the next 2 weeks. Your parsley walnut pesto sounds good!

  8. Cakelaw November 8, 2014 at 04:01 #

    I like your pesto. My blender had a nervous breakdown so I just chopped up the parsley as finely as I could and mixed it with some oil. The soup was OK, but not really my thing.

  9. Cher November 8, 2014 at 07:38 #

    I really like JA, so this was a hit for me as well.

    Nice call on the pesto!

    (P.S. I looked at my wardrobe and realized that a lot of it was the same color as this soup. uh oh…time to go shopping!)

  10. Gracie ~ Food Fascination November 8, 2014 at 09:49 #

    Nice to hear you enjoyed!

  11. Candy (Dulce) November 8, 2014 at 12:08 #

    I’m so happy that you enjoyed this soup. I made a “faux” version, and it was just ok. But I have some lovely pesto in the freezer that I put up this summer, that will surely make it prettier and more flavorful. Thanks for the tip! Oh, and I like Mr. Neal’s suggestion – a great idea!!

  12. Nana November 8, 2014 at 15:47 #

    I have to say that your soup looks very appealing with the parsley coulis. This just didn’t work for us.

  13. TheKitchenLioness November 9, 2014 at 02:46 #

    Mardi, very velvety looking soup and the bright green pesto sounds like a very tasty addition to the soup!

  14. Teresa November 9, 2014 at 03:16 #

    I couldn’t get the right texture for my parsley, either. I wish I’d turned it into a true pesto, as you did. But, even chunky, it added a lovely flavour to the soup.

  15. Diane Zwang November 9, 2014 at 18:37 #

    Your pesto sure brightened up a bland looking soup. I never found the elusive Jerusalem artichokes.

  16. Tricia November 11, 2014 at 10:04 #

    I had not made the coulis for mine and was delighted to see the results of yours. Boy did it make a difference color wise (and I imagine taste wise) in that soup. Even if you ended up with the coulis a bit more tweaked than planned, it certainly looked amazing and I am certain was enjoyed. Lovely.

  17. Rose November 11, 2014 at 13:38 #

    Hmm, I liked the soup, but given the choice I’d probably roast them with the garlic again.

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