Soups are one of the best things about winter, as is warming up in front of a fireplace with a hot cuppa, and the fact that the lawn does not need to be mowed quite so often. However, with the change in weather, it can be easy to make excuses to exercise less and eat “comfort” foods which may not have the best effect on our body. This Jerusalem Artichoke soup recipe is not only delicious, but also a great comfort food, easy to prepare and eat later, and packed full of inulin, the new best friend of your gut bacteria!
Despite the misleading name, the Jerusalem artichoke is not an artichoke. Unlike the Globe artichoke, which is an edible flower bud, the Jerusalem artichoke is actually an edible, tuberous root of a North American sunflower. It looks like a small knobby potato and is packed full of nutrition. Jerusalem artichokes are really high in vitamin C (an antioxidant), B vitamins (to help convert food into energy, and keep your hair, skin and eyes healthy), potassium, iron, copper and magnesium.
Jerusalem Artichokes and Inulin
Like their “unrelated” cousin Globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes are a rich source of inulin. As you would know, here at New Life Nutrition we are big fans of foods that act as prebiotic (food for our gut bacteria that keeps our intestines clean and bellies flat!) and this is certainly one of them. Inulin from Jerusalem artichokes has been shown to increase levels of Bifidobacteria (health-promoting bacteria) and may help suppress “bad” bacteria.
A cup of Jerusalem artichoke has only about 100 calories. However, as most of this comes from the carbohydrate inulin, the human body is unable to metabolise the carbohydrates for energy, and therefore is great for those trying to lose weight, or also people worried about increasing their blood sugar/insulin levels. In fact, Jerusalem artichoke polysaccharides (carbohydrates) have actually been shown to improve blood sugar control!
Just in time for winter, inulin also has the ability to enhance a component of our immune system. Medicinal plants like Echinacea and burdock owe much of their immune boosting abilities to inulin. Jerusalem artichokes are one of the richest sources of inulin available! However, this vegetable may cause increased gas with those on a FODMAP-free diet, so if you choose to introduce it into your diet, make sure you increase it gradually and discuss this with your treating Dietitian.
Below is a recipe that I used to use up the kilogram of Jerusalem artichokes which had sprung from a single plant the year before!
Jerusalem Artichoke and Leek Soup (adopted from Sydney Markets)
• 40g (2 tablespoons) olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 2 medium leeks, washed, trimmed, thinly sliced
• 750g Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, cut into lcm pieces
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 750ml (3 cups) chicken stock
• Salt & ground black pepper
• 80ml (1/3 cup) sour cream
• Sliced green shallots, to garnish
Heat butter or margarine in large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and leeks and cook for 2-3 minutes or until leeks begin to soften. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and nutmeg and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently, covered, for 15-18 minutes or until artichokes are tender. Puree in 2 batches in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return soup to saucepan, add the sour cream and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes to heat through. Do not boil. Serve garnished with green shallots and accompanied by the bread rolls.
Energy: 1046kJ, Fat Total: 17g; Carbohydrate: 6g; Protein: 8g; Dietary Fibre: 19g; Sodium: 851.77mg
All nutrition values are per serving. (serves 4)
This recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, low calorie, low fat.