This creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup, or sunchoke soup, comes with a tasty topping of crispy pork and spicy sauce. It is easy to make, ideal for a light lunch or dinner, and a great starter for special occasions.
Enjoy a creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup topped with crispy bacon or pork belly and a spicy sambal oelek kick. This sunchoke soup recipe combines the earthy sweetness of Jerusalem artichokes with the savory, salty crunch of bacon and a fiery touch of hot sauce. This simple soup is a comforting dish suitable for a family dinner or fine dining; the perfect winter or fall dish.
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🌞What are sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes?
They are root vegetables, part of the sunflower family. Despite their name, they are not actually globe artichokes, nor are they from Jerusalem. These tasty tubers have a knobby, irregular shape and a thin, light brown skin. Inside, they have a crisp, white flesh with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor reminiscent of artichokes.
These tubers are versatile and can be cooked in various ways, such as roasting, sautéing, boiling, or used raw in salads. Learn How to Roast Jerusalem Artichokes; they make a fantastic side dish for hearty meat dishes.
They are nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Ingredients for the soup:
- Jerusalem artichokes: You will need about 1 lb/ 450 g. You can typically find them in well-stocked grocery stores, especially during the fall and winter months when sunchokes are in season. They are often sold alongside other root vegetables like potatoes and carrots in the produce section.
- Additionally, you may find them at farmers' markets or specialty food stores that carry a variety of fresh produce. Some online retailers may offer Jerusalem artichokes for purchase and delivery if you cannot find them locally.
- Celeriac and parsley root: Both root vegetables complement the Jerusalem artichoke flavor and texture.
- Sake: A Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. It is optional; if you don’t have it, leave it out, but it does add flavor and makes this soup Michelin star-worthy.
- Fennel seeds are tiny, aromatic seeds harvested from the fennel plant. They have a sweet, licorice-like flavor and are commonly used as a spice in cooking and for their digestive properties. I love using them in cooking; they add tons of flavor to any dish.
- Other ingredients for the soup: Onion, leek, vegetable stock or broth, freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper.
Ingredients for the topping:
- Diced pork belly. Alternatively, you can use diced pancetta or bacon cubes. Although there are slight differences between these three products, you can use any of them for the topping. If they are not already diced when you buy them, chop them into small pieces yourself.
- Sambal oelek: A spicy Indonesian condiment made from chili peppers, vinegar, and salt. It has a bold, fiery flavor and is commonly used as a chili paste or sauce to add heat to dishes. Alternatively, sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce can also work as substitutes, although they may have slightly different flavors.
- Pickled green peppercorns for extra flavor are unripe green peppercorns preserved in vinegar, offering a tangy taste with mild heat. They can be found in jars in the condiment or gourmet section of grocery stores or specialty food stores.
- Other ingredients for the topping: Olive oil, onion, and ginger.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
👩🏻🍳How to make Jerusalem artichoke soup?
Make the soup:
Step #1: Clean, peel, and chop the sunchokes, onion, leek, celeriac, and parsley root.
Step #2: Sauté the vegetables in olive oil in a soup pot until golden and softer. Add the fennel seeds and stir shortly.
Step #3: Add sake and vegetable broth and cook until the vegetables are soft (15-20 minutes, but check).
Step #4: Blend the soup with a stick blender and adjust the taste with a pinch of salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the juice one tablespoon at a time.
Make the topping:
Step #5: Sauté the onions until translucent in the remaining olive oil.
Step #6: Add bacon and ginger and cook until the onions are soft and the pork slightly crispy and golden brown. Add Sambal Oelek and the green peppercorns to taste.
Pork belly: The soup comes originally with a pork belly topping. For a leaner version, you can replace them with diced pancetta or bacon cubes.
Sambal Oelek: Use it cautiously; start with a small amount and adjust to taste. It's spicy, so you want your bacon topping for the sunchoke soup to have a kick without overpowering it.
Using an immersion blender for blending soups is better because it's safer and more convenient. With an immersion blender, you can blend the soup directly in the pot, so you don't have to transfer hot soup to a food processor, risking spills and burns. It's also easier to control the blending process and achieve the desired consistency with an immersion blender. Plus, cleanup is a breeze since you only have to wash the blender attachment instead of a whole food processor.
The bacon/pork belly topping is delicious, making this soup unique. However, the soup will be perfectly delicious without the meat; leave it out.
Or replace the meat with roasted sunflower seeds or pine nuts, bread croutons, crispy sage, and a few drops of truffle oil. Remember, if you make these changes, the flavor will differ from the original dish.
Sure. Cook, cool, and refrigerate the soup until ready to serve.
Make the topping and keep it in a separate container. Reheat it shortly in the pan before adding it to the soup.
Refrigerate the soup and the topping in separate containers for 3-4 days.
Freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 months (again, keep the soup and the topping separated). Defrost in the fridge.
Reheat on the stovetop or microwave, adding a splash of stock if the soup has thickened too much.
🍽️What to serve with it?
Check out What to Serve with Soup!
Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (Sunchoke Soup)
- Large soup pot
- Frying pan
Jerusalem artichoke soup:
- 1 lb Jerusalem artichokes sunchokes, 450 g
- 2 onions used separately, Note 1
- 1 medium leek only the white and light green parts
- 1 piece celeriac about 5.5 oz/ 150 g Note 2
- 1 medium parsley root Note 3
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- a dash of sake optional
- 5 cups vegetable broth 1.2 liter
- juice of ½ lemon
- fine sea salt and ground black pepper pepper
- 1 piece ginger about 1 inch/ 2-3 cm
- 7 oz pork belly diced, 200 g, Note 4
- 1-2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek to taste, Note 5
- 1 teaspoon pickled green peppercorns optional
Jerusalem artichoke soup:
- Prepare the vegetables: Clean and peel the sunchokes, then chop them into small cubes. Finely chop 1 onion, leek, celeriac, and parsley root.1 lb Jerusalem artichokes / 450 g + 1 onion + 1 medium leek + 1 piece celeriac + 1 medium parsley root
- Sauté: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot and cook the vegetables until golden and softer. Add the fennel seeds and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Simmer soup: Add a dash of sake and the vegetable stock and cook until the vegetables are soft about 15-20 minutes, but check.a dash of sake + 5 cups vegetable broth/ 1.2 liter
- Blend the soup and adjust the taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the lemon juice one tablespoon at a time and stop when you have enough.juice of ½ lemon + fine sea salt and ground black pepper pepper
- Chop the second onion and the ginger very finely. If not already diced, chop the bacon, pancetta, or pork belly into small cubes.1 onion + 1 piece ginger + 7 oz pork belly / 200 g
- Cook: Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and cook the onions until translucent. Add pork pieces and ginger and cook until the onions are soft and the meat cubes slightly crispy. Add Sambal Oelek to taste (it is very hot) and the pickled green peppercorns (if using).1-2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek + 1 teaspoon pickled green peppercorns
- Serve the sunchoke soup with the topping and crusty bread.
- Onions: You will need one for the soup and one for the bacon topping.
- Celeriac: Theoretically, you could substitute 2-3 celery stalks for celeriac to achieve a similar flavor. However, given celeriac's white color and creamy consistency when cooked, it is a much better option for this soup.
- Parsley root: If you can’t get it, substitute it with more celeriac.
- Pork belly, bacon, or pancetta cubes all work well in this recipe. If the meat is not already diced, cut it into small cubes to make the topping.
- Hot sauce: Be cautious with Sambal Oelek—start with a little and add more if needed. It's spicy, so you want your bacon topping for the sunchoke soup to have some heat but not too much.