Sunchoke, Leek & Potato Soup + A Primer On Dietary Fiber
Ricetta in Italiano in fondo.
I love creamy soups. They’re quick and easy to make and so forgiving. You mix and match random fridge and pantry items and more often than not you get a delicious no fuss meal. They make a perfect “I don’t know what to make for dinner” meal when you don’t have a plan, reheat well the next day and freeze really well too. I love to add a creamy soup or two to my meal plan each week to take the edge off.
Leek and potato is an age old soup combination and the added sunchokes here really brighten things up with their distinct flavour. I also topped it with roasted pepitas and brown lentils for some crunch and an added nutritional punch.
What are sunchokes and why you should eat them?
Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem Artichokes and Topinambur are tubers from the sunflower family. They have a potato like texture, but are much less starchy and have a sweeter, nuttier flavour, similar to an artichoke, which is probably where they get their name.
They are one nutrient dense tuber with a good dose of dietary fiber.
Why is dietary fiber so important?
Well, we all know fiber helps keep us regular, but there’s so much more to it.
There are two main types of dietary fiber. Different foods contain different amounts of each one. Psyllium for example is almost all soluble fiber while whole flax seeds are all insoluble due to their hard outer shell causing them to go through the digestive tract intact. Flax meal (or milled/ground flax seeds) provides both soluble and insoluble fiber because their outer shell is broken and the soluble fiber becomes accessible.
Each type of fiber has it’s own role to play.
Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and helps prevent constipation.
Sources of insoluble fiber include cellulose found in whole grains,nuts and seeds and the skins of fruits and vegetables.
To get more of this type of fiber chose brown rice instead of white rice, eat a handful of nuts and seeds each day and make sure you eat the skins of things like apples, carrots, cucumbers, and other fruits and vegetables, after you’ve carefully scrubbed them and remember if you’re going to eat the skin, it’s best to get it organic or local and from a reliable source.
Soluble fiber on the other hand forms a gel like substance that slows down digestion and glucose absorption, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and lower LDL (aka “bad”cholesterol).
Sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, chia seeds, beans and legumes.
To get more soluble fiber in your diet, try making oatmeal/porridge for breakfast and a chia pudding for snack time, add beans to your salad for lunch and lentils to your soup for dinner.
What kind of fiber do sunchokes have?
Sunchokes are a good source of inulin oligofructose, a form of soluble fiber that passes directly to the colon where it acts as a prebiotic, feeding your healthy gut bacteria, specifically bifidobacteria that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, stimulate components of the immune system and aid the synthesis of B vitamins(1). Prebiotics also increase the production of short chain fatty acids that help reduce inflammation (2).
Since cooking changes the composition of food, some prebiotic fiber is lost when you cook sunchokes or jerusalem artichokes. How much is lost is not really known but it’s safe to assume the less they are heated, the more they will retain that healthy prebiotic fiber (3).
How do you eat sunchokes?
Cooked or raw, I highly recommend adding this delicious tuber to your vegetable round up. It’s very low on the glycemic index, making it an ideal food for diabetic diets and is a good source of magnesium, phosphorous and potassium and an excellent source of non heme (plant based) iron.
It makes a great substitute for potatoes, can be cubed and added to chunky soups or pureed (as you see here) to add flavour and nutritional depth to a cream soup. To get the full benefit of the prebiotic fiber, grate it raw onto a salad. Just 19 grams or approximately 2 tablespoons of grated raw jerusalem artichokes will get you about 5 grams of prebiotic fiber which is the recommended daily intake of prebiotic foods needed to fully reap the benefits(4).
Sunchoke, Leek & Potato Soup
Servings: 4 Time: 1 hour Difficulty: Easy
1 Leek stalk, white and green parts
4-5 Small-Medium Yellow Potatoes, peeled & cubed
250 g Sunchokes (about 1 1/2 Cups peeled & cubed)
1 L (4 Cups) Filtered Water/Homemade Vegetable Broth, more or less as required
Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil, for sauteeing leeks (for oil free use water or vegetable broth instead)
A few pinches of sea salt, to taste
Herbamare, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to serve
Wash and slice leek stalk into thin rounds.
Sautee in oil, broth or water with a pinch of salt until wilted.
Add washed, peeled and cubed potatoes and sunchokes and stir through to mix it all together. Add another pinch of salt.
Add filtered water and/or broth as required (you want to make sure the vegetables are fully covered, but you don't want to add too much at this stage, you can always add more later to thin it out), and bring to a boil. Once you have a good boil going, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
After 45 minutes, remove from heat, uncover and let the temperature come down a for a minute or two, then puree to a smooth consistency using an immersion blender or transfer to an upright blender and blend until smooth, add a little more water/broth if necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Serve with fresh ground black pepper and any of the above optional toppings.
Optional Topping Idea: Crispy Seasoned Lentils - use previously cooked al dente brown lentils (see this post for how to properly soak and cook lentils), season with salt, pepper, paprika or other seasonings of choice and roast in the oven on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 180 C for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Mix with lightly dry pan toasted pumpkin seeds and use them to top the soup.
vellutata di topinambur, porri e patate
Porzioni: 4 Tempo: 1 ora Difficoltà: Facile
1 Porro, parti bianche e verdi
4-5 patate gialle piccole/medie, sbucciate e tagliate a cubetti
250 g di Topinambur, sbucciati e tagliati a cubetti)
1 litro di acqua filtrata / brodo vegetale fatto in casa, quanto basta
Olio extravergine di oliva o olio di cocco deodorato, per saltare i porri (per una versione oil free sostituire con acqua o brodo vegetale)
Qualche pizzico di sale marino
Herbamare, a piacere
Pepe nero macinato fresco, da servire
Lavare e tagliare il porro a fettine sottili poi farle appassire nell’olio (o acqua o brodo) con un pizzico di sale.
Aggiungere le patate e topinambur precedentemente lavate, pelate e tagliate, un’altro pizzico di sale, e mescolare per ammalgamare il tutto.
Aggiungere abbastanza acqua filtrata e / o brodo finchè le verdure non siano completamente immerse, ma non aggiungere troppo liquido a questo punto, puoi sempre aggiungerne di più dopo.
Portare ad ebollizione poi abbassare la temperatura al minimo, coprire e far sobbollire per 35-45 minuti, o finche le verdure non sono ammorbidite.
Togliere dal fuoco, scoprire e lasciar raffreddare qualche minuto, quindi passare con un frullatore ad immersione o trasferire nella brocca del frullatore e frullare fino ad ottenere una vellutata liscia e omogenea.
Aggiungere acqua / brodo se necessario per ottenere la consistenza desiderata.
Servire con pepe nero macinato.
Guarnizione facoltativo: Lenticchie croccanti - condire delle lenticchie marrone precedentemente cotte al dente (seguite le indicazioni in questo post), con sale, pepe, paprika o altre spezie a piacere poi diponetele su una teglia rivestita da carta da forno e infornare a 180 ° C per circa 10 minuti, o fino a quando non diventano croccanti. Aggiungere alle lenticchie i semi di zucca leggermente tostati in padella senza olio e servire con la vellutata.