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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Roasted Shiitake & Speck

We love Jerusalem artichokes. With a flavor reminiscent of truffles and aged cheese, they lend themselves to all manner of preparations. One of our favorite ways to enjoy their distinct aroma is in soup, and the recipe below, a recent creation, is especially soothing on a chilly day.

Serves 2

For the soup:

  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 1/2 pound Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half

For the shiitake:

  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 2 thin slices Speck, cut into fine slivers

Make the soup: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart pot. Add the onion and cook 5 minutes over medium heat, or until soft, stirring often and adding a splash of water if needed to prevent sticking. Stir in the Jerusalem artichokes and artichokes, season with the salt and pepper, cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring once in a while and adding a splash of water as needed if the vegetables stick.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are thoroughly coated in flour and the raw flour smell has dissipated. Add the broth, still stirring, and bring to a gentle boil. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft and the soup is thick.

Meanwhile, make the shiitake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (preferably set on convection). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toss the shiitake with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and somewhat shriveled, stirring once or twice for even browning. Set aside.

Being careful not to burn or splash yourself, puree the soup in a blender in several batches. Return to the pan. Stir in the half-and-half, adjust the seasoning, and serve hot, garnishing each portion with the shiitake and Speck.

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