Earthly Eating

Gabi’s Sunchoke Showcase

Each month, we will be bringing you delicious, nutritious, and eco-friendly recipes that our staff members love! This month’s Earthly Eating recipe is Gabi’s Sunchoke Showcase from Gabi Teren, the EWT’s National Biodiversity and Business Network Manager

This recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Potato and Mushroom Al Forno (in his book Veg!), is the best showcase for the sunflower tuber’s sweet, mushroomy, garlicky taste.

Jerusalem Artichokes. These delicious vegetables are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem. Rather, they are sunflowers native to North America and historically cultivated by indigenous people of the Americas. They grow like weeds, are easy to harvest and cook, delicious, nutritious, and help bees!

Why are they wildlife friendly?

They make a great sustainable crop for small gardens – and trust me, you want to use a small contained planting space even though they grow into 2-meter tall sunflowers – they send long root runners out that produce the edible tubers you want to harvest, and they can get out of control if not restricted. And you can harvest as many as you want, and the rest can just be left in the soil to grow into plants the next year. They are water-hardy and flower late into the summer season, which helps the bees who visit them when there are very few other flowers around (in the Cape).

They are ready to harvest once finished flowering, and you yank out the main stem and then follow the long roots to get to the tubers. And yes, they are ugly- but delicious! Use as fresh as possible, but they do keep in the fridge for weeks- win!

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Two handfuls Jerusalem artichoke tubers
  • 600 g potatoes
  • Half a head of broccoli
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 onions
  • 500g mushrooms
  • 1 bunch fresh chives
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • ½ tub cottage cheese
  • Handful (or two) parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon truffle oil (worth it!)
  • Handful fresh rocket

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Scrub the artichokes and remove the fine roots
  3. Roughly chop the potatoes, artichokes, garlic, and onion
  4. Place in a large roasting pan, throw over 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper and roast for 30-40 mins till golden and cooked through.
  5. Toss in the roughly chopped mushrooms and broccoli and roast for another 10 mins
  6. Beat eggs till pale and fluffy, add the chopped chives, and fold in the cottage cheese
  7. Pour over the roasted veg and then grate parmesan over the top
  8. Continue roasting for another 10-12 mins, or until the egg mixture has set and serve with a few drops of truffle oil and fresh rocket.

It’s a one-pan rustic wonder that offers so much flavour and a protein and iron-packed vegetarian dish. And the Jerusalem artichokes will just keep on producing, year after year.

(Pro-tip = the artichokes contain high amounts of inulin – a really beneficial fibre for gut health, but eat too many, and you may experience some err gassiness as a side-effect!)

(Pro-tip 2: Pairs well with a great Chenin Blanc such as a Ken Forrester Old Vine Chenin or Spier Organic Yellowwood White).

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