Mashed Sunchokes (a.k.a Jerusalem Artichokes)

Source: Micki Seibel, March 2013

Source: Micki Seibel, March 2013

Sunchokes, a.k.a Jerusalem artichokes, are knobby tubers that have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. The artichoke name is a misnomer as they are not artichokes at all but a species of sunflower that is native to the eastern part of North America.

Like celery root, they make an excellent substitution in any potato recipe and can be cooked in the same ways–roasted, steamed, and mashed (although they get a bot soggy when boiled, so that I wouldn’t recommend). They are lower in calories that potatoes because of the lack of starch, and they are a great source of iron, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and phosphate. Although they need to be washed or scrubbed to remove dirt, they do not need to be peeled: the peel is very thin and, although it has a slightly chewy texture, it’s not unpleasant and removing it from the knobby exterior is not worth the effort, in my opinion.

This simple recipe can easily take the place of mashed potatoes in any meal, and it is a quick and easy way to familiarize yourself with this vegetable. If you exciting ways to prepare them, please do share. I’m happy to try out your recipes and post them (with credit to you, of course).

Ingredients

  • 1 lb sunchokes, cleaned of debris
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Steam the sunchokes for 15-20 minutes, until a fork easily pierces the center. You may need to half or quarter the larger ones.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp of unsalted butter over medium heat.
  3. Transfer the sunchokes to a food processor and pulse until they are broken into smaller bits. If you lack a food processor, see #2 in “How Not to Screw It Up” below.
  4. Add the butter, parsley, salt, and pepper and pulse again to combine. Serve.

How Not to Screw It up

  1. I strongly suggest using unsalted butter in this recipe. This way, you control the amount of sodium you want with your own salt.
  2. If you don’t have a food processor, you can cut up the steamed sunchokes and mash them by hand as you would mashed potatoes.