Sunday, 28 October 2012

pan-fried jerusalem artichokes / sunchokes, bratkartoffeln style

there's almost a cosmic quality in this shot of the jerusalem artichokes, don't you think?

I live in a two-bedroom apartment. I rent. I share. Over the past few years, I've had people from different walks of life come in and out of this cosy apartment, while I remain.

When I came across Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes, sunroots, earth apples or topinambours) sometime ago, I thought about what I could do with them, and one of the first things that popped into my mind was to emulate the German dish, Bratkartoffeln, which I experienced for the first time, thanks to my Bavarian housemate, Max, back in 2009. Bratkartoffeln's star ingredient is the humble potato, of course, but I had a feeling that Jerusalem artichokes, with a similar taste profile, would be a brilliant swap... and it was.

So here's my recipe for pan-fried Jerusalem artichokes, loosely based on that delicious, delicious Bratkartoffeln.

sunchokes or jerusalem artichokes, cooked bratkartoffeln style. oh yeah!

pan-fried jerusalem artichokes, bratkartoffeln style
(serves 2)


450g jerusalem artichokes / sunchokes (1 lb)
1 tablespoon oil
120g bacon (4 ounces, or approximately 4 slices) - may be omitted to make this vegetarian or vegan-friendly
1 onion (150g / 1/3 pound)
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

Peel Jerusalem artichokes, then cut into slices of approximately 0.5cm / 1/5 inch thick.
Warm up some oil over medium heat. Fry bacon and onion together for 5 minutes. Add garlic and Jerusalem artichokes and fry for about 10 minutes, depending on how you like the texture of your Jerusalem artichokes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you're using bacon, additional salt is probably not required.

Serving suggestions:
If you're going with the Bratkartoffeln way, toss through some chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (also known as continental or Italian parsley). As I didn't have any parsley, I decided to serve my pan-fried Jerusalem artichokes on a bed of mixed fresh salad leaves (mostly baby spinach) with a dollop of unsweetened natural yoghurt. I imagine sour cream or goat cheese would also be great, or you can give it a dash of lemon juice or sumac for a dairy-free, vegan option if you like a bit of acidity.

this sunchoke bratkartoffeln can be a satisfying meal in itself.

Simon devoured his in, like, two minutes - just goes to show how you can't go wrong with the awesomeness of Bratkartoffeln. I wasn't too far behind.

Oh, and if I've now got you pondering the idea of using Jerusalem artichokes - you can find them in the markets around wintertime, give or take a little (I got mine weeks ago, which was, by then, towards the end of their Australian season, but Northern Hemisphere friends should be seeing them emerge right about now). Here are our thoughts on their taste and texture. When raw, their fresh crispness remind me of water chestnuts, while Simon likens them to a fusion of apple-potato, and they can go well in a salad. When cooked, like in this pan-fried dish, they develop a starchier quality, venturing into comfort food territory. They're good either way with their gentle flavour, experiment and see what you like!

P.S. Another photo, basically the first one in this post, but cropped to highlight one of the Jerusalem artichokes, which Simon reckon looks like a wombat. By golly, it does!

you have to love a root vegetable that looks like a wombat.

42 comments:

  1. You don't mention their other nickname "fartichokes" - they are such a windy vegetable but it is worth it sometimes.

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    1. Ha, I didn't know about that one! When they're in season again here I must give it another go with that in mind. ;)

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  2. Brilliant idea! I agree with your enthusiasm for the always tasty Bratkartoffeln. Can't wait to hunt down some Jerusalem artichokes to try this one out.

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  3. Ooh-hho, maybe I should look for these here in Toronto, now that it's getting super coldy-cold! Looks absolutely marvellous :)

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    1. Oh yes, they make great comfort food for cold weather! (P.S. I just found your comment, silly Blogger thought it was spam, tsk tsk.)

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  4. I have to confess - I have never cooked with them. This looks amazing though. I love it when someone comes into your life and inspires you :)

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    1. Totally - wish I'd taken the time to learn more while he was around here!

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  5. Can I encourage people NOT to grow them, unless you have them in some kind of giant pot. We accidentally ended up with a field of them, and I swear a hundred kilos once we pulled them all up. They are tasty but as Foodycat says too many can have a very flatulent effect!

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    1. Haha, that sounds a bit like my aunt's zucchinis and pumpkins. So prolific!

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  6. i admit i have never eaten them either. what sort of flavour and texture do they have? in your cooked dish, they look a bit liek white carrots.

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    1. Well, they remind me of potatoes, hence why I decided to cook it like Bratkartoffeln. I should probably have mentioned that in the post! Will update now. ;)

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  7. Ooh, I've never tried cooking these before, although I do profess that I love eating them! Will have to wait until the season comes around again I suppose...

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    1. They're great! And this recipe is really easy. The hardest part is peeling and chopping the ingredients. ;)

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  8. this sounds great! I've only ever put them in soup!

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    1. I recently got a hand blender so will definitely try to make Jerusalem artichoke soup next time. But yeah this is something different that you can try! :D

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  9. So beautiful, and they almost look like water chestnuts.

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    1. And they do actually taste a little bit like water chestnuts when they're raw, too! :D

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  10. Looks great! I've often seen them for sale up the road and never knew what to do with them. Now I know!

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    1. Yes! Now next time you see them you can cook this and let me know how you go. ;)

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  11. Pretty impressive, I wouldn't even go near buying these at the markets cos I wouldn't know how to prep them. But you make it look pretty simple. Maybe next time I'll try it out. The dish sounds so comforting, but the asian in me would probably add chillies to the bacon and onions, hahaha!

    And I don't see no wombat! It looks like ginger actually..

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    1. Yeah they're simple enough to deal with. Just try to get the ones that aren't too knobbly so they're easier to peel. Please do try it out! And chillies would definitely go well. :D

      They do look like ginger, but don't you see a wombat face in that particular piece? No? Okay maybe it's just Simon and me, two weirdos suited to each other. :p

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  12. Uh oh, now you're finding faces in sunchokes! This fills the perfect void post potato-harvest for me:)

    Speaking of potatoes, I love any recipe that tells me it's a good substitute for potatoes... I'll do anything to eat something else! Hah.

    This sounds delicious, and it's cosmically pretty, too.

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    1. Yes! I can assure you that Bratkartoffeln (or my not-too-faithful variation of it) works nicely with sunchokes. No need for potatoes if they're not your thing. ;)

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  13. Dear leaf,

    I have never cooked with jerusalem artichokes before but this dish looks delicious with the combination of ingredients. I love that close up shot too.

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    1. It was very delicious indeed. Thank you. :)

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  14. I have no idea how to pronounce the dish but I'm sure it's lovely! I've only had jerusalem artichokes as foam sauces!

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  15. Comfort food in a bowl. Lovely idea to swap the potato with Jerusalem artichoke. Thanks for sharing

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  16. Peter Gilmore at Quay seems to be a big fan of the jerusalem artichokes

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    1. I just googled and he has some interesting Jerusalem artichoke recipes! Thanks for the heads-up. :)

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  17. Omg delicious! I've neither had Jerusalem artichokes nor heard of Bratkartoffeln until now, actually. HAHA. I think I cook lazy Asian dishes way too often, need to start being more adventurous and experimental like you in the kitchen. I always go straight to the "usual", food that I'm totally familiar with everytime I go to grocery shopping. You really teach me new things each time I visit your space, Leaf. Need to be more like you haha!

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    1. Ha, I only know about Bratkartoffeln because of my German housemate. Believe me, I cook lazy Asian dishes all the time, too! But definitely trying new things when I can. Thanks for the support, Winston. :)

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  18. Bratkartoffeln are great. Nice recipe, too. And I bet it's yummy!

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  19. I agree - any vegetable that looks like a wombat is okay by me. Wombats rule! ;)

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    1. Totally! Well, not all of them look like wombats. But one is enough to spread the lovable feeling. ;)

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  20. Jerusalem Artichokes are one of my favourite vegetables. To me, they are best when prepared simply as you have done - this looks lovely. I also heartily agree with you regarding the wombat!

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    1. Thanks, Anna! Yes. I am very pleased that you spy the wombat. :D

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  21. am growing a whole lot of them this year, so thank you for a gorgeous recipe.

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