Roasting in the oven is a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables during the winter and to help heat up your kitchen a little. While winter comes back for (hopefully) one last visit before spring is here for good, last night I decided to cook up the bag of Jerusalem artichokes I had picked up earlier in the week. Also known as the sunroot, sunchoke or earth apple.
They are some gnarly looking fellas... almost like ginger roots. Their names are misleading, as they are not from Jerusalem, nor are they artichokes. They were a Native American staple but are now more popular in Europe. They are the tubers of a plant that is related to, and similar in looks to, a sunflower. They were actually linked to leprosy at one point and shunned only because they looked similar to the deformed fingers of people with the disease. Ewe. Now that you have worked up an appetite, maybe I should tell you about some of its more appealing attributes.
Sunchokes (I like this name for them best) are very rich in inulin (not insulin), a carbohydrate which is linked to good intestinal health because of its prebiotic properties. This also breaks down as fructose in the body, instead of glucose, which makes this a great substitution for potatoes for diabetics. They are a good source of Thiamin, Phosphorus and Potassium and an excellent source of Iron.
They can be cooked and eaten just like potatoes except sunchokes can actually be eaten raw. Slice them thin and try them in a salad, dips or salsa. They have a somewhat nutty flavor, somewhere between an artichoke heart and a sunflower seed, and are similar in texture to a water chestnut.
One warning: Apparently they can make you a little gassy. Maybe not. Maybe don't eat a half a pound on your first try. Just sayin.
I decided to cook them up with some brussel sprouts (which I have been obsessed with lately) and some carrots. First scrub the sunchokes under running water with a brush and cut them into 1/2" to 1" cubes. Leave the skins on. Next, trim off the ends of the brussel sprouts and halve them. Clean, peel and cut up your carrots. Toss everything together in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt.
Lightly coat a cookie sheet with more olive oil. Then Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the pan. It's okay if they are touching, but try not to have them on top of each other. Sprinkle more salt across them.
After 15 minutes, remove pan and stir everything around, then return to even. Repeat every 15 minutes until the veggies have cooked for 45 min - 1 hour. They will be browned and crispy on the edges when they are done.
Put the veggies in a bowl and add a few tablespoons of butter and grated parmesan cheese (don't add too much cheese, just sprinkle some around).
Serve immediately and enjoy!
This Recipe is part of Food Renegade's, Fight Back Friday