Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I Heart(ichoke) Chickpea Soup and Sunny Avocado Salad

I dipped my emulsifier into a new breed of veggie last night! Jerusalem artichokes, which are neither artichokes or grown (traditionally) in Jerusalem, were the main staple of the soup I blitzed last night for dinner.

I had always seen these knobby little guys at the grocery shop, but, for some reason, had steered clear. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, and it was the king of the world's vegetable patch himself that made the suggestion last night (when philistine me was about to stick to the mundane sweet potato - foolish me).

They came home in a card board box and were small and full of bumps and dirty bits. A good wash down and a slicing revealed their off-white inside. They could easily disguise themselves as bits of parsnip or turnip. They made up the bulk of my root veg and chick pea soup last night - and their flavour was distinct, without being obnoxious.

I paired this thick and earthy soup with a light and tangy salad. Find the recipe nuggets below!

I Heart(ichoke) Chickpea Soup

8 Jerusalem Artichokes: sliced
5 carrots: sliced
2 sweet potatoes: sliced
2 large cooking onions: diced
2 cloves of garlic: diced
1 jar of chickpeas: drained and washed
1 tsp of olive oil
Sumac (optional)

Instructions: Warm the olive oil on medium heat and add the onions. I let them sit for about 7 minutes. I added the whole lot of veg - giving it a big stir, coating them in the oil. (you don't even need the oil - you could actually just add the veg to boiling broth or water - you can reduce the fat and lose almost zero flavour - just make sure to find other ways to get in your EFA).

I added about 5 cups of water to the soup and let it sit for 45 minutes (the carrots were the last to go soft). I emulsified, added the fresh Rosemary and let it have another few minutes to bubble away. When I ladled the soup into the bowls I topped them off with some Sumac. This was a great soup for a damp night - you could easily replace the chickpeas with lentils, and omit the pesky carrots all together. Yet, there was something perfect about this mixture. The nuttiness of the artichokes was a perfect compliment for the chickpea flavour.

Sunny Avocado Salad

A good loaf of dark German bread wasn't the only thing I was serving with the soup. I added to the meal a salad that was a question mark until I put the first forkful in my mouth. My gamble on the mixture paid off!

5 slices of sun dried tomato
2 hot house tomatoes - quartered
1/2 a bag of organic mesculin greens
3/4 of a fresh avocado - cubed
about 25 cashew nuts
olive oil
balsamic vinegar

Through this together at the last minute and enjoy!

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