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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (Sunchoke Soup)

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A creamy sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke soup with a hearty salty and hot topping with bacon and sambal oelek, this is the perfect autumn soup!

Sunchoke Soup with Bacon Topping

What are sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes?

Sunchokes! Or Jerusalem artichokes. You might be wondering what they are? I know I did the first time I heard the German word for it: Topinambur. A really twisted name, very un-German, I really could not imagine what that might be. But I was curious, as I always am when food is involved.

So I found out that the sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes (another strange name if you ask me, coming actually from the Italian girasole articiocco and having nothing to do with Jerusalem) or sunroot is a tuber belonging to the same species like the sunflower (thank you Wikipedia).

Originally apparently from Mexico, sunchokes found their way to Europe (France) at the beginning of the 17th century. They are still grown all around Europe today, but unfortunately not as much as to make them a widely available vegetable. It took me some years after first hearing of a sunchoke to finally be able to buy it around here. Not to mention that it is quite pricey as well.

But they seem to do well in a garden, too well actually… I don’t grow vegetables myself, but I have heard stories of people planting a few sunchokes in their garden and ending up with a garden full of them, apparently they grow like a weed…

I have to say that I have only had the sunchokes in form of soup, this sunchoke soup. We had this the first time last year in November in a restaurant as a part of an 8 course menu. I loved everything we ate that evening but the soup was my absolute number one. I liked it so much that I immediately asked for the recipe.

It wasn’t hard to get it as the chef is a good friend of ours and he was only too happy to recite the recipe to me. Since then I am making this Jerusalem artichoke soup each chance I get.

creamy Jerusalem artichoke soup with bacon topping

How to make sunchoke soup?

Sunchoke soup

  • Start with cleaning your sunchokes very well, they are covered in dirt most of the times, especially if you have them directly from the garden. Peel and chop the Jerusalem artichokes into small cubes.
  • Continue by cooking the sunchokes and the remaining cubed vegetables in some olive oil. Add the fennel seeds, I would definitely not leave them out, they just make this soup so much better, they give it such a wonderful flavor.
  • Once the vegetables are soft, puree the soup.

Bacon topping

  • The soup comes originally with a pork belly topping. I used lean bacon cubes instead of pork belly.
  • Be careful when using Sambal Oelek, add a little at the beginning and more to taste. Sambal Oelek is hot and you want your bacon topping for the sunchoke soup to be hot, but you will not want to overdo it.
  • I love the sunchoke soup with the topping, but when the topping is gone, I still eat the soup just as happily as before. So feel free to leave out the topping for a completely vegetarian meal.
cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup

Expert tips

Using fennel seeds in soups is a rather new discovery for me. I have done it once and was converted, nowadays I add the fennel seeds to many of my soups, especially the creamy ones. I also add fennel seeds to these amazing Spanish Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.

Recipe FAQ

Can I make the soup vegetarian or vegan?

The bacon/pork belly topping is delicious and really makes this soup special.
However, the soup will be perfectly delicious without the meat, just leave it out.
Or replace the bacon with some roasted sunflower seeds or pine nuts, they are fantastic as well.

How to store?

Refrigerate for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
It is preferable to keep the soup and the topping in separate containers so that the meat bits don’t get too soggy.
Freeze in an airtight container for 3-4 months, again keep the soup and the topping separated.
Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.

More creamy soups

Do you like this recipe?

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creamy sunchoke Jerusalem artichoke soup in a bowl

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

A creamy sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke soup with a hot bacon topping, this is the perfect autumn soup!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: German
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 437kcal
Author: Adina

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb sunchokes/ Jerusalem artichokes 450 g
  • 2 onions used separately
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1 piece celeriac about 150 g/ 5.5 oz
  • 1 medium parsley root can be replaced with a bit more celeriac
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • a dash of sake optional
  • 5 cups good vegetable stock 1.2 liter
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 piece of ginger about 2-3 cm/ 1 inch
  • 7 oz lean bacon 200 g, See note
  • 1-2 teaspoon Sambal Oelek to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pickled green peppercorns optional
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare vegetables: Clean and peel the sunchokes, chop them into small cubes. Finely chop 1 onion, leek, celeriac, and parsley root.
  • Saute: Heat 2 tablespoons of the 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.
  • Cook: Add a dash of sake and the vegetable stock and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  • 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 had enough.
  • For the topping start by chopping the second onion and the ginger very finely. Chop the bacon into small cubes.
  • Cook bacon: Heat the third olive oil tablespoon in a pan and cook the onions until translucent. Add the bacon and the ginger and cook until the onions are soft and the bacon slightly crispy.
  • Add Sambal Oelek to taste (it is very hot) and the pickled green peppercorns.
  • Serve the soup with the topping and some bread.

Notes

Or pork belly if you don’t care about the extra calories.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the dish | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 6457mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 25g
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Recipe Rating




Anna Schlösser

Friday 4th of January 2019

am i blind or where is the recipe :D

Adina

Friday 4th of January 2019

Sorry, Anna. Since the last site update strange things are happening. Thank you for letting me know.

Monica

Thursday 17th of December 2015

I love a creamy, hearty soup like this (I had a chestnut one tonight for dinner)...it's so warming and satisfying. I need to look into sunchokes...I think I've had it at restaurants but can't say I know much about it. Congrats on your cookbook contribution. Very exciting!

Adina

Thursday 17th of December 2015

Thank you, Monica. Chestnut soup sound great, I have never had that before, they are so darn expensive the chestnuts.

grace

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

i had my first sunchoke just last weekend and loved it! granted, it was fried, but i really liked the flavor of it. beautiful and nutritious soup, adina!

Adina

Thursday 17th of December 2015

Thank you, Grace. I really have to try sunchokes in another form as well.

Adina

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

You will love the topping, Thao. Really spicy!!!

Thao @ In Good Flavor

Wednesday 16th of December 2015

This soup looks so smooth, creamy, and delicious! And since it is so healthy, I would not feel guilty helping myself to a nice helping of bacon on top.