A topinambour soup for a winter’s day in Berlin

Topinambour, or Jerusalem Arthichoke, as it is also known, was at the heart of our Saturday afternoon cooking session this past week. Tompinambour is an odd shaped root vegetable, originating from North America.  In fact it was once called “Canadian Potato”. This is surprising considering I had not actually heard of it before moving to Berlin and had never seen it in my native city of Montreal. It turns out, topinambour is currently more cultivated in Europe, which may explain why it is more visible in the European culinary lexicon!

So a bit more about the topinambour itself: It looks very much like a large ginger root and tastes almost exactly like artichoke heart. However, as it is a root vegetable, it can be used in ways that artichoke hearts cannot, such as mashes, soups and bakes.  When prepared in the right way, it is a true pleasure to eat!

We decided on this first foray into topinambur territory to play it safe and make a simple creamy soup. The dish is called Topinambour & Roasted Garlic Soup. It is perfect for a winter’s day in Berlin!

We added a single sweet potato chip, fresh chives and a parmesan crisp as garnish, but these are optional. The soup speaks for itself.

Here is the recipe:

Topinambour & Roasted Garlic Soup

Adapted from “cook it: Vegetarisch” – a simple little german cookbook, that doesn’t look like much on first glance, but actually offers up some great soup ideas! 

For 4-6

1 garlic bulb

1 1/2 Tlbs butter

1 1/2 Tbls olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 small leek, chopped

700 g topinambour, peeled and cubed

1 small potato

1-1.5 L good quality vegetable broth

For the garnish:

Sweet potato slice, deep fried in Sunflower Oil (optional)

Parmesan crisp (optional)

Fresh chives (ideal but optional)

The Steps:

Heat the oven to 200 Degrees C, wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes, or until it is soft throughout. Take it out and let it cool. Once it is cool, remove the soft garlic paste from the skin. Put aside.

In a large pot, melt the butter and olive oil on medium heat. Fry the onions, leek and celery for 10 minutes, add a pinch of salt. Add the topinambour, potato and garlic paste. Fry for another 10 minutes. Add the Broth, make sure it covers the veggies by about half an inch.

Bring to a boil and then let it simmer on low heat until the veggies are soft, around 30 minutes. Take off the heat.

Puree with a hand blender.

Serve with in small bowls with chives, sweet potato chip and parmesan crisp.

3 Responses to “A topinambour soup for a winter’s day in Berlin”
  1. That looks exquisite and I absolutely adore your photography.

  2. Yum, I need to get out and find some Topinambur… I made a similar soup last winter and you make me want Nachschlag.

    • Totally try this out. It is surprisingly simple (although peeling the Topinambur took some time) but ends up with a very special delicate taste. Its special and exotic, like something that belongs in a fancy restaurant!

      Actually, now that I think about it, maybe we also need a Nachschlag!

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