A Taste of Ireland: Delicious, probiotic Celeriac, Jerusalem Artichoke (Sun Choke) Soup.

Celeriac-artichoke-and-salami-soup-with chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland
Celeriac-artichoke-and-salami-soup-with chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland

The markets in Ireland are our greatest blessing for access to diverse, nutritious locally produced food. This recipe uses a few ingredients I picked up this Saturday past, at the Midleton farmers market, which is in my opinion probably the best market in the country and I`ve been to a few in my time.

This is again a very seasonal root vegetable recipe that was basically inspired by the produce that was on sale at the market.

Celeriad-artichoke-and-salami-soup-chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland-2Ingredients

Celeriac

Jerusalem Artichoke

Salami Style sausage

Onions

Veg Stock

Sea Salt

Cream

Chickweed

Butter

Irish Rapeseed Oil

I bought the Jerusalem Artichokes from the Ballymaloe stand (they are the cleanest I`ve seen sold, plus they are large, which is a tip, because Jerusalem Artichokes are a knobbly veg and they are not the easiest to peel, that’s another tip (like a ginger root, peel the artichoke with a spoon to avoid cutting and binning a lot of it).

The Ballymaloe stand has had a gentleman there every Saturday for years apologies but I don`t remember his name (I`ll update if someone informs me.

He is now producing a beautifully presented range of cured meats and salami style sausages, the type I used to see in Heidi films as a child and always wondered how they tasted.

I bought Celeriac from the Organic stall, mainly because I was there looking for organic turmeric.

Finally although not highlighted but as a soup base I bought the most wonderful chemical free onions 5 for 1 euro from Dave Barry`s vegetable stall. I offered him 2 euro but was politely refused, what a bargain I thought dispelling the myth that produce at farmers markets is higher than necessary.

The final ingredient is cream, but this can be substituted for the great looking Ballymaloe Yogurt or if you want dairy free, try almond milk or coconut milk.

So finally why have I chosen this Celeriac, artichoke and cured sausage recipe combination.

Read on and you will find that not only is this an extremely warming and yummy combination it is packed with health benefits as the light leaves us at this time of year.

Jerusalem artichoke Belongs to the sunflower family of plants. Also known as the earth apple, sunchoke.
3 reasons to eat Jerusalem Artichoke

1) Jerusalem artichokes contain plenty of inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber which has the ability to stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria which are naturally present ‘good bacteria’ in the large intestine. These so called ‘good bacteria’ will compete with harmful bacteria in the intestines, prevent constipation, and give the immune system a boost.

2) Jerusalem artichokes are packed with B vitamins

3) Jerusalem artichokes provide even more potassium than bananas which are famous for their high potassium content
Celeriac is a vegetable that is a member of the celery family. However, only its root is used for cooking purposes. Also known as celery root and turnip rooted celery, celeriac has a taste that is similar to a blend of celery and parsley

it is a very good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium besides containing vitamins B1, B2 and E.

Salami style sausage: Fermented foods are very trendy at the moment and rightly so due to their health benefits containing many vitamins but mostly because of their probiotic nature promoting good gut health. The probiotic good bacteria and enzymes in fermented foods help to populate our gut and intestines with Lactobacilli which are really important for healthy digestion.

Vegetable fermenting is most dominant, well known examples include Sauerkraut and Kimchi. I am going to talk here instead about fermented meat. Which really are in the same category as these vegetable probiotics.

If you are like me always wondered why the French and Italians are so healthy yet seem to eat vast quantities of essentially raw pork heres a few reasons why.

Fermented sausages are cured sausages. Some well known European sausages are French saucisson, Spanish chorizo, and Italian salami. These are slow-fermented sausages with nitrate addition and moderate drying temperatures

Foods with a low pH value (high acidity) develop resistance against microbiological spoilage. So like pickles and sauerkraut properly fermented meats like Salami style sausages promote gut health in much the same way.

Bacteria hate acidic foods and this fact plays an important role in the production and stabilization of fermented sausages. Ideally the pH value of meat to be used for making fermented products should be below 5.8.

Air drying is the process employed in lowering water activity (moisture removal) and has to be properly controlled. Salami is microbiologically stable when the water activity Aw is 0.89 or lower. Uniform air drying promotes proper drying and mold prevention.

Chickweed

Not only is chickweed a wild and really delicious plant it is packed vitamin A, B and C and traditionally has a reputation for healing skin problems. It is also known to work internally and may well  relieve the symptoms of intestinal disorders.

Method

Fry off one onion in butter and some Irish rapeseed oil, then add chopped Jerusalem Artichoke (approx 3 to 4 big ones), half the celeriac cubed and slices of the salami. Fry this until they have all started to go soft.

Then add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer cover and simmer on a lower heat for 20 minutes (or longer if you are not as hungry as I was today).

Blitz the ingredients to a fine soup then add cream, mix and simmer with only the heat on the hob after you turn it off for a few minutes.

Now Im lucky to have chickweed growing everywhere around my house so its used as a garnish and as a herbed oil to dress the soup with a drizzle of herb infused rapeseed oil.

The Salami style sausage is also fried in rapseed oil and broken up into delicious crispy bacon bites to garnish.

Pottery used

All pottery is supplied by Midleton based ceramicist Susan Herlihy of Craft Hands pottery studio. https://vimeo.com/130915184

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All food was cooked, styled by Sean Monaghan, all video and photographic content is copyright of Sean Monaghan www.atasteof-ireland.com 2015.

Celeriad-artichoke-and-salami-soup-chickweed-a-taste-of-ireland-3

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