As the veg-centric movement gains even more steam, finding new superstars in the produce firmament is a wonderful thing. More chefs are discovering delightfully gnarly, nutty sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes. At Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates & Gardens, Justin Wangler, Executive Chef, showcases the humble root in a sublime Sunchoke Soup, a rich dish often garnished with duck confit, mushrooms and dried cherries—and paired with Pinot Noir.
“The flavors are earthy from the mushrooms, and the sunchokes add a nutty, sweet flavor,” says Wangler. “We add duck confit for richness, sautéed mushrooms for texture, and sunchoke chips for crunch.” The dried cherries are rehydrated in Pinot Noir verjus, adding bright acidity and a hint of red fruit.
“This is a fun dish because most folks haven’t had the opportunity to try sunchokes,” he says. The tubers can be hard to peel, but this recipe just entails roasting then puréeing them. The resulting texture is creamy enough that no dairy is needed. The in-demand soup is served as an appetizer or as a small portion in a coursed meal. Wangler enjoys making the most of the dish.
“We have set the soup into a savory panna cotta and served it chilled,” he says. “It can be used in a thicker version as a sauce for a vegan red wine pairing.” And the fried sunchoke chip can be used anywhere a nice crunch is needed. “It could be one of the most tasty chips around.”