Darina says: "Jerusalem artichokes are a sadly neglected winter vegetable. They look like knobbly potatoes and are a nuisance to peel, but if they are very fresh you can sometimes get away with just giving them a good scrub. Not only are they a smashing vegetable, but they are also delicious in soups and gratins. They are a real gem from the gardener's point of view because the foliage grows into a hedge and provides shelter and cover for both compost heaps and pheasants!"
- 50 g (2oz) butter 1.1kg (21/2lb) jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed, peeled and chopped
- 600 g (11/4lb) onions, chopped salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1.2 l (2 pints) light chicken stock (you may need a little more)
- 600 ml (1 pint) creamy milk approx
- 2 avocados, peeled and diced 4 tablespoons chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 4 tblsp hazelnut oil
- 4 tblsp chopped chives
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, then add the artichokes and onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes approx.
- Add the stock and cook until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise and return to the heat. Thin to the required flavour and consistency with creamy milk and adjust the seasoning. This soup may need more stock depending on the thickness required.
- Serve in soup bowls or in a soup tureen. Season the diced avocados with salt and pepper, then sprinkle the diced avocado and chopped roasted hazelnuts over the soup. Drizzle with a little hazelnut oil and chopped chives and serve.
Recipe taken from A Simply Delicious Christmas by Darina Allen, published by Gill and Macmillan.