From November to March, Jerusalem artichokes are our favourite seasonal produce – small, knobbly potato-like vegetables that have gained popularity in recent years. Some of our clients have admitted to not picking them up at the market because they’re not quite sure what to do with them, but we love them and they’re an easy one to cook and prepare.
Jerusalem artichokes are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem; they are actually a distant cousin of the sunflower and the ‘Jerusalem’ part is derived instead from the Italian word for sunflower, girasole. The crisp white flesh has a sweet and nutty flavour, and they should be stored in the same way as onions and potatoes to keep them fresh.
We buy our Jerusalem artichokes from Chipping Norton market, where they’re always fresh and delicious. You’re looking for pale brown skins with no soft spots or wrinkles. To reduce waste, look for the least knobbly ones – they’re a lot easier to peel as well! Jerusalem artichokes can be cooked in much the same way as potatoes, swede or parsnips and will discolour when peeled in the same way. They’re a popular choice amongst our wedding catering dishes in winter months.
Looking for a Jerusalem artichoke recipe? Impress your friends and loved ones with succulent venison, accompanied by creamy fondant Jerusalem artichokes and a tangy blackberry sauce. Venison is in season in the UK from August til April, depending on the species of deer, and the flavours of the rich meat beautifully compliment the delicate flavours from the Jerusalem artichokes. You can find venison in supermarkets now, but you’ll find the best cuts and advice from your butcher. Our venison comes from the always-brilliant Barry the Butcher in Stratford Upon Avon.
Slice Jerusalem artichokes thinly on a mandolin and deep fry at 140 degrees Celcius until golden and crispy.
Artichoke puree and fondants
250g peeled Jerusalem artichokes, whole
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs of thyme
A pinch of Salt
Juice of one lemon
Gently sweat shallot, garlic and thyme in the butter until softened, and add ½ litre of water. Bring to the boil and add artichokes, salt and lemon. Cook for approximately 25 minutes. Remove the three best artichokes for the fondants. Remove the rest from the liquid and place in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding some of the liquid from the pan if necessary. Meanwhile, drizzle with oil and roast the three artichokes in a hot oven until golden brown.
Blackberry tamarind sauce
20g tamarind pulp
180ml boiling water
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5g garam masala
2 fresh curry leaves
1 large tomato, roughly chopped
100g frozen blackberries
Add the tamarind pulp in the boiling water. Sweat the onions and garlic until soft. Add garam masala, curry leaves, blackberries and tomato and cook for another two minutes. Add the tamarind mix and simmer gently for 45 minutes. Then pass through a sieve before serving.
250g venison loin
40g coriander seeds
Trim venison loin and roll in crushed coriander seeds. Sear evenly in a hot pan until brown. Place in the oven at 180 degrees Celcius for seven minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a further seven minutes. Slice and serve.
Garnish with ribbons of carrot and some fresh blackberries