Garden Renovation

We have yet another project in the works.  In an effort to add more perennial and annual growing space, we are again (for the forth year in a row) expanding our garden.

We are trying to keep renovation costs to a minimum so we are repurposing materials we already had on our property.  We were also lucky enough to obtain reclaimed timbers from an old barn to create some raised beds.  (Remember the ones we were going to use for a new dining room floor?  Enter new idea.)

As you can see, it is definitely still a work in progress.  Hopefully, I will have pictures of the completed project soon.

Jerusalem Artichokes

After reading an article in Mother Earth News a few weeks ago, I felt inspired to try a new veggie!  The article discussed a variety of perennial vegetables, in addition to asparagus and rhubarb which tend to be the perennial veggies that people are most familiar with, but the one that caught my eye was the Jerusalem artichoke.  I was very intrigued by these perennial tubers.  Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes because they produce beautiful yellow flowers similar to a sunflower) can prepared in much the same fashion as a potato.

I was thrilled when I walked into my natural foods store yesterday and found a giant basket of Jerusalem artichokes nestled in amongst the locally grown kale and spinach!  I grabbed a bag of these little guys and headed home with an idea in my mind to create some form of soup with them.

So yesterday, with a tiny two-year old sous chef by my side, I started my experimental run with Jerusalem artichoke soup.

I first put 4 tablespoons of butter in a stock pot.  After the butter was melted I threw in one diced yellow onion and 2 diced leeks.

I cooked these veggies down until tender.  Then I added 10 medium Jerusalem artichokes that I had diced (I left the peels on for added nutrition).  I then covered all of the veggies with about 2 quarts of pork stock that I had on hand.  I then covered the pot, and let the veggies simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the veggies simmered, I fried up a pound of bacon. (A note…my girls ate about 2 strips each, so it ended up being a bit less than a pound of bacon that I actually ended up putting in the soup 🙂 )  When the bacon was cool enough the handle, I chopped it up into bite-sized pieces.

Once the Jerusalem artichokes were tender, I ran an immersion blender through the soup.  Then I added 1/2 cup heavy cream and 8 oz Havarti cheese (shredded).  After the dairy was incorporated, I added the chopped bacon to the soup.  I flavored with salt and pepper from there are viola…Jersusalem artichoke soup!

I hope you enjoy this great little veggie that has gone unnoticed for so long here in our house.  The soup had a very similar texture to that of potato soup, but with a slightly sweeter taste.  I would say that this experiment turned out to be a success.