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Jerusalem Artichoke, New Potato & Hazelnut Soup

A real winter warmer, this recipe is inspired by one that my mother cooked for us when we were younger. Autumn always brings in a surplus of Jerusalem artichokes in our house, and due to their difficulty to digest (the flatulence they cause) they are often left undug in the garden! My recipe uses potato to try and reduce the effects, so you can enjoy the delicious nutty flavour of the Jerusalem artichoke without the added baggage.

With the deliciously fragrant nuttiness from the vegetables and nuts, and the depths of flavour brought out by the soy sauce: if you're wondering what to do with this strange little tubular, look no further!

Serves 4-6

Takes 30 minutes (25 cook, 15 prep)

2 tbsp of olive oil

3 small onions (roughly 5cm across)

2 tsp of salt

1 tsp of peppercorns (or 1 tsp of coarsely ground pepper)

300g of Jerusalem artichokes

250g of new potatoes

1 tsp of powdered vegetable stock

200g of hazelnuts

750ml of boiled water

1 tbsp of soy sauce

NOTE: I like a very thick soup, so if you prefer it more watery then add another 250ml of water.

Preheat the grill to 180C.

In a medium cast iron pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.

Cube the onion and add it to the saucepan with the salt. In a pestle and mortar, slightly crush the peppercorns, making sure they stay in large pieces (this will enhance the sudden explosion of flavour when they are eaten) add them to the pan and stir well.

Wash and cube the jerusalem artichokes and new potatoes, and when the onion has fried off for about 5 minutes add them in with the powdered vegetable stock, combining well. Fry the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring them regularly, until the jerusalem artichoke begins to soften slightly.

As the vegetables cook, lay the hazelnuts on a baking try and grill on the top shelf them for 5 minutes, before agitating them and grilling them for a further couple of minutes until they begin to blacken slightly - the slight burn will create a fuller flavour in the finished soup.

Add the boiled water and soy sauce to the pan with the vegetables, and simmer them on a high heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the hazelnuts from the grill and set them aside for later, keeping some in a separate bowl as a garnish for serving.

When the vegetables have boiled for 10 minutes, check that when you run a knife through a piece of new potato, it slides off easily.

Remove the pot from heat, add the hazelnuts (apart from those put aside to garnish) and combine everything well with a hand held blender, until there are no lumps.

Serve the soup straight away with the hazelnut garnish and a slice of sourdough rye bread, which compliments the soup very well, the sourness cutting through the nuttiness perfectly.

Any soup that is leftover can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, or frozen for later.

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