Make Ahead

Sunchoke Lemongrass and Leek Soup

February  6, 2010
3 Ratings
  • Serves 6 first courses or 4 lunch entrees
Author Notes

One of the changes in my diet I'm trying this year is to do a semi-fast once a week (we'll see how long this lasts). On that day, I can eat anything I want as long as it's in a liquid or puree form. Soup, smoothies, and hot tea are in; chocolate cake is out. So I'm doing a lot of soups, which are easy to get in the mood for this time of year and a great way to use the various vegetables I see at the farmer's markets and local stores. This soup plays up the lemony side of sunchokes by sauteeing and cooking everything with two stalks of smashed lemongrass, which are removed before pureeing the soup. It ends up a very elegant, smooth entree or first course. Tip on prepping the sunchokes: if you scrub the sunchokes with a plastic net dish cleaner you can fairly easily remove their thin skins. Then all you need to do is to remove any dark spots with a paring knife. You do not need to remove 100% of the skins - I removed about 75%-80%. Put them in lemon water until you need them to prevent them from turning color. —TheWimpyVegetarian

What You'll Need
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, divided, sliced across the width in thin strips, white and light green parts only
  • 4 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed, and minced
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, smashed and cut in two to fit in the pot (they need to be easy to retrieve before pureeing the soup)
  • 1 pound sunchokes, well-scrubbed to remove most of the skin and sliced 1/8" thick
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • lemon zest to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chives, minced
  1. Important: See the notes above in the summary for prepping tips for the sunchokes. This can take 20-30 minutes to do for 1 lb of sunchokes, so this should be done first. Slice fairly thinly and soak in lemon water to keep them from turning color.
  2. Melt the butter in a soup pot and saute one-half of the leeks and all of the shallots, garlic, and lemongrass until the leeks and shallots are soft and the mixture is very aromatic (about 10-15 minutes).
  3. Add the sunchokes and mix to thoroughly cover the sunchokes with the leeks lemongrass mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the broth and bring to a simmer until the sunchokes are tender (about 40 minutes). If you don't have any broth, you can use water. Remove the lemongrass stalks and puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. Pour back into the soup pot and reheat. Add the cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add lemon zest to taste.
  5. For a garnish, I fried the other half of the leek strips in olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice until they were fairly crispy. I topped the soup with a pinch of them and a few minced chives.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • feastathome
  • gingerroot
  • boulangere
  • hardlikearmour
  • TheWimpyVegetarian

10 Reviews

feastathome October 14, 2011
This looks fantastic! I love sunchokes and lemongrass. Can't wait to try it.
TheWimpyVegetarian October 14, 2011
Thanks feastathome!! I hope you try it. And I'd love to hear your thoughts if you make it :-)
gingerroot September 30, 2011
This sounds delicious. I've never had sunchokes but love lemongrass and am always looking for ways to use it.
TheWimpyVegetarian September 30, 2011
Thanks so much gingerroot!! They taste a lot like artichokes and ended up going really well with the lemongrass. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you make it!
boulangere September 30, 2011
lovely flavors going on here

TheWimpyVegetarian September 30, 2011
thanks b!!
hardlikearmour September 30, 2011
This sounds really lovely. I'm a big fan of lemongrass & sunchokes. Saved.
TheWimpyVegetarian September 30, 2011
Thanks HLA! I hope you like it, and I'd love to hear your thoughts if you make it!
Karin L. February 7, 2010
How do you clean sunchokes??, it takes quite some time and it seams that lot is left on the root...
TheWimpyVegetarian February 7, 2010
The fastest way I've figured out to clean sunchokes is to use a plastic pot scrubber. The ones in our stores here are a round mixture of yellow and red plastic strands. They don't have any soap or anything like that in them. The strands provide enough friction to remove most of the skin of sunchokes making the process MUCH faster, and the plastic strands that make up the scrubber allow you to get into the nooks and crannies of the root very effectively. Then I take a paring knife and remove any dark spots remaining. When I'm done, I've removed about 70%-80% of the skin, which is fine for this soup (and most soups and purees unless you're Thomas Keller) because what skin is left is pretty light colored. Hope this information helps!