Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunchoke Quinoa Pilaf

Amongst the many vegetables I've not tried cooking with, the one I've wanted to try the most is the sunchoke.

The sunchoke (often referred to as a Jerusalem Artichoke) is a brown tuber of a flowering plant that belongs to the daisy family. It has no relation to artichokes, nor any affiliation with Jerusalem - in fact it's native to Eastern Canada. It seems to have picked up the artichoke moniker because its flavour has definite artichokes tones. It's crunchy, very tasty but as the unfortunate capacity to produce copious amounts of gas in people who are sensitive to inulin (which the sunchoke has in spades).

In fact, way back in the day (aka 1621), an English planter, John Goodayer wrote this of them:

"which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men."

Well, if that doesn't make you run in the other direction, I don't know what will.

I can tell I'm really convincing you to try the recipe.

Might I recommend saving it for a dinner alone or when you're with company that doesn't mind if there's going to be wind?

It's probably best you don't use this for a dinner where you have important guests. Things could get awkward.

Unless, of course, you're starring in an Adam Sandler comedy.

In that case, things will get mildly hilarious.

For the record, none of us who enjoyed them this week were pained or tormented.

Take that, John Goodayer. He probably just wrote that to scare people off eating his sunchokes.

Anyway, sunchokes are best eaten raw or steamed. They have a habit of turning to mush if they're boiled. You can help them maintain their shape if you scrub but do not peel them, which was precisely what we decided to do.

Sunchoke Quinoa Pilaf

(Kat's recipe)


1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
1½ cups quinoa, rinsed (feel free to use different colours as we did)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup sliced sunchokes
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste.


1. Heat oil in saucepan and sauté until onion is translucent. Add quinoa and toast over medium heat until it cracks and pops, about 3-5 minutes.

2. Add broth and bring to a boil, add chickpeas, sunchokes and peas. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

3. Fluff and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the hope that none of your guests have problems with inulin. You're in for a rough night if they are.

Yes. The whole recipe really is that easy.

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