Tag Archives: sunchokes

Turkey Cottage Pie with Sunchokes and Turnips

The Snarky Gardener welcomes Brooke the Cook to the blog. She has created a recipe to use up his abundance of sunchokes, potatoes, and turnips.

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Photo Credit: gkdavie cc

Turkey Cottage Pie: is it a shepherd’s pie or pot pie?

Inspired by the bounty of root vegetables at Snarky Acres, this recipe combines the rich filling of a shepherd’s pie (sans sheep), the abundance of turkey left-overs available after the holidays, and is topped with low-glycemic white root vegetables to balance the body.

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I recommend pairing this delicious casserole with a side of steamed asparagus or green beans, and a fresh salad of mixed greens.
Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups root vegetables (choose low GI: (Jerusalem artichoke/sunchoke, celeriac, white turnip)
  • 1 potato (see note below)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup sweet peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1lb / 450g turkey
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder or reduced sodium Old Bay spice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour (all purpose, gluten free or chickpea)
  • 1 cup white wine (or filtered water)

Topping

  1. Roughly chop the root vegetables and potato. Boil in 3 cups of water until soft (15-20 minutes). Partially drain and set aside.

Note: Russet potatoes will give it a lighter-fluffier mash. Yukon Gold will give a smooth but heavy texture. Red or white skin potatoes can quickly turn gummy. For the best texture use a masher. Do not use a mixer or it will go gummy.

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Filling

  1. Finely dice the carrot, onion, garlic and celery. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until soft. Sprinkle flour and add wine and spices. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes more. Set aside in a dutch oven or oven-proof casserole dish.
  2. Scramble fry ground turkey, drain. If using left-over roast turkey, chop finely 1-2 cups and pan fry 3-5 minutes to warm. Add the turkey to the vegetables. Note: For a vegetarian option, replace the turkey with 1-2 cups of cooked lentils and/or quinoa, combined.

Assembly

  1. Mash root vegetables with a pinch of salt. Beat until smooth. Spoon evenly over the filling. Bake 40 min at 375F. Let stand 5 min.
  2. Serve with steamed asparagus or green beans, and a salad.

What’s your favourite way to use up left-over turkey?

In health and friendship,
Brooke

Brooke loves to cook, hence the nickname. She is passionate about eating for pleasure and nutrition. Her recipes are health-conscious, though she does enjoy a satisfyingly-rich dessert. If you like what you read, please leave a comment below and subscribe for new recipes at weekbyweek.ca.

Perennial Food Crops – Part 1

Growing food that doesn’t need planted again saves time, effort, and money.

Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke

The Snarky Gardener was tasked with writing a paper for his permaculture class. This is part 1 of several written about perennial food crops from a permaculture perspective.

Perennial versus Annual Food Crops

With our current agricultural systems, annual monoculture plants rule with corn, soybeans, rice, and wheat being the primary crops. Every year, lots of money and non-renewable energy is used to till the soil, plant the seeds, remove the weeds, protect the crops from insects, and fertilize. Perennial food crops, when planted in a polyculture (ie with many other plants), help to mitigate much of these costs while providing a long term answer to growing our food. This is not to say that annual crops don’t have a place in a permaculture future, but their dominance will need to be reduced for designed systems to work to their full capacity and potential. Biologically, most annual plants are weeds, needing disturbed ground to thrive (thus all the tilling). This churning of the soil is very destructive to the web of life that exists under the surface. Earthworms, fungi, bacteria, and other organisms work in harmony to break down dead plant material and create the conditions plants need to survive and thrive. Perennials reduce the havoc tilling causes as they don’t need to be planted over and over. There are also some annual no-till systems that achieve some of the same goals, like the use of cover crops and special equipment to punch planting holes for corn and soybeans, but unfortunately they have been slow to be adopted.

Conventional Garden Perennials
Strawberries

Some perennials are commonly utilized by gardeners.  Many perennial herbs (like mint, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, horseradish, and lemon balm) are easy to grow (sometimes too easy as mint and horseradish can be invasive).   Living up to 15 years, asparagus is one of the first plants to be eaten the spring.  Its spears can be grilled or baked with olive oil and parmesan cheese.  Strawberries come back year after year, spreading by the use of runners.  Rhubarb (which was planted next to the strawberries by my grandmother) produces reddish stems which can be used in desserts (strawberry rhubarb pie anyone?) or soups.  Note: the leaves and roots are poisonous.

Rhubarb
Sunchokes in bloom
Lesser Known Garden Perennials

Perennials unknown by many people can also be used in the garden.  Ramps (aka Wild Leeks) are found wild in the eastern United States and grow in shady and/or wet areas.  Also a native of the eastern US, the groundnut (a nitrogen-fixer) grows in 6 foot vines and produces tubers that taste like nutty-flavored potatoes.  Sunchokes (or Jerusalem Artichokes) are a North American native related to the sunflower.  They grow from 6 to 12 foot tall and have crisp, sweet tubers.  Egyptian walking onions get 3 foot tall, set bulbs on their tops, and then fall over to spread to others parts of a garden.  Crosnes (or Chinese Artichoke) is a mint relative that spreads using runners and and have crisp, sweet small white tubers.  Good King Henry is a traditional European leafy green spinach relative.  French Sorrel has lance-shaped leaves good for salads.  

Egyptian Walking Onions

All (Sun)choked Up

Sunchokes are great if you can stomach them.

Sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes, sunroots, fartichokes – all names for a North American native related to the sunflower.  This is a perennial plant that produces edible knobby tubers.  And by perennial, I mean they could be invasive if not properly managed.  I obtained several at the Foods Not Lawns seed swap this last January.  Planting them in the back of my garden in March, I just let them go without much assistance.  I did have to fence them in inside my fence as one groundhog acquired a taste for them, but once the sunchokes got tall enough (4 feet or so), the critters couldn’t get to them. The sunchokes ended up getting 10 feet or so tall with pretty sunflower-like flowers on them. On 11/17/2013, I dug them up, bringing in several buckets full – way more than I would have imagined. Also, it seems like they don’t store all that well (some shriveling up within a week), but was able to keep them in the buckets with some dirt on top through the spring.

Sunchokes in bloom
Sunchokes in bloom

My understanding is that it’s hard to get rid of sunchokes once they are planted. The roots are very long and grow everywhere. If you miss any while digging, you will have more sunchokes next year. Also, the flowers produce seeds, which will produce even more sunchokes. I believe I’m in trouble next year as I had both roots and seeds I’m sure I missed. The only saving grace is that the leaves and stems make good mulch (read that in a permaculture book recently), so I’ll just be cutting any unwanted stalks down. I’m definitely a mulch believer – the more the better.

Sunchoke from my garden before cleaning 11/17/2013
Sunchoke from my garden before cleaning 11/17/2013

The reason for people calling them fartichokes is that some people can’t digest sunchokes, much like lactose intolerance. I didn’t have that issue at first as we only had a small amount. I pushed it the next day and apparently ate too many (oh, my aching stomach). The Turnip, Apple, and Sunchoke soup I made next was much better and didn’t affect me at all.  I think the secret is moderation (which is not my strong suit).

Turnip, Apple, and Sunchoke Soup

In case you have Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) and don’t know what to do with them, here’s what I decided to make with my own turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, and garlic.  I made a few modifications, including adding turnip greens and not peeling anything (I’m lazy if not anything).  I would make this again so, but alas, I’m out of turnips for now.  Could always buy some at the local farmer’s market.

Turnip, Apple, and Sunchoke Soup

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
1 leek, trimmed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 pounds turnips diced plus greens
1 1/4 pounds sunchokes, diced
2 tart apples, cored, and diced
Coarsely ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper
Medium-coarse sea salt

Instructions:
1. Cut leek lengthwise in half and rinse well. Finely chop leek together with onion and garlic.

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2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add leek mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until water is almost completely evaporated, about 15 minutes.

3. Add turnips, artichokes, apples, and remaining 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer until apple is soft and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes more.

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Knobby sunchokes – 11/23/2013
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Turnips (including greens)
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Local apples

4. Puree soup using an immersion blender until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve drizzled with oil and sprinkled with a grinding of pepper and with salt, if desired.

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Yum! Finished soup