I can hear the groans now.
Not another sunchoke recipe.
But there’s a method to my madness. I firmly believe the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to take back control of your own food security, eating as locally and in season as possible by foraging, gardening, and buying from your local farm community. Not to mention, the importance of being less dependent on fragile global supply chains, industrial manufacturing of food-like products and just-in-time provisioning of local grocery stores (because those things worked so well for us in 2020).
And thus, I’m writing about what I could actually eat right now, and – sorry, folks – that would be sunchokes! (And black walnuts. And butternut squash, honestly. And chickweed. And dried cherry tomatoes. Oh and eggs. I guess I could cook a really weird frittata.)
Pro tip #1! While you can forage sunchokes even in the depth of winter, it is much, much, MUCH harder when the ground is frozen. Luckily in Maryland, even the longest cold snap doesn’t freeze the ground too solid, and I was able to dig up over a pound quickly despite the frigid temperatures. Sunchokes actually benefit from regular harvesting because otherwise the tubers would overcrowd each other and (sun)choke themselves out.
For this dip, I was torn between boiling the sunchokes or roasting them. Roasting definitely provides superior flavor and a chunkier dip; boiling creates a creamier texture and helps remove the skins so you don’t have to peel the sunchokes. Heck, you don’t really have to peel them at all, though I feel like it helps with the inulin issue. Speaking of which, we apparently aren’t eating sunchokes often enough because we haven’t built up tolerance to that delightful side effect. However, soaking the chopped sunchokes in water and apple cider vinegar HAS made a big difference. There’s a little tummy rumbling still, but not the same degree of, um, fanfare we had giggled over previously.
Pro tip #2! Don’t trust any online sunchoke recipe which fails to mention the possible gastro-intestinal side effects of their high inulin content. If they aren’t warning their readers, they probably never ate the recipe themselves! Just saying.
But this recipe is definitely worth the risk!
This dip is a tangy treatment for a variety of vegetables and also works well as a spread on crackers (paleo, in my case, but use whichever you prefer!).
Makes about 2 cups
- 1 lb sunchokes, cleaned and chopped
- 1/2 c dried tomatoes
- 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbs preferred oil
- 1/2 c feta cheese
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place sunchokes in bowl filled with enough water to cover. Add apple cider vinegar and allow to soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Drain and rinse. This stepped can be skipped if you are pressed for time, but it helps reduce the flatulence-inducing inulin in the tubers.
- Soak dried tomatoes in enough warm water to cover for 30 minutes. Drain tomatoes, reserving water for later use.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Toss drained sunchokes with oil, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Allow sunchokes to cool slightly, then chop in a food processor with tomatoes, feta cheese, and lemon juice. Add reserved tomato-soaking water two tablespoons at a time as needed if the dip looks too dry. Continue to process the dip until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.