Jerusalem artichokes are such a wonderful vegetable, for everyone to enjoy, and an especial gift if you are avoiding nightshade family plants and so unable to eat potatoes. They’re so like potatoes, and yet have a sweet nutty earthiness all of their own. They feel much more nutritious and much more special too, and are highly prebiotic, a very good thing.
I have a clear memory of Dad cooking roast Jerusalem artichokes that he had grown, and the excitement of it, the rare occasion of it all as they sizzled and oozed on the baking tray as it was set down at the centre of the kitchen table. At the time I was just an observer, not partaking in the true anticipation of such a vegetable treat, a bit wary of them. But now I am in the place of my father, though without child spectators, without the theatre of a family occasion, just Dan and I and our own thrill at finding yet another wonderful organic delight, and my personal happiness at finding a vegetable that can in some way replace potato, for which I had a particular fondness.
Here I paired them with Natoora British Candy Beetroot, or known as Chioggia beets in Italy, and doubtless by many other names, which is a stunning vegetable that’s just so visually uplifting to work with. Any beetroot will be beautiful, though these are slightly less sweet (and are wonderfully crisp raw). Beetroot, sweet and earthy and packed with fantastic health-giving phytochemicals, lift a meal to next-level goodness. Roasting is a good way to keep that goodness in, so much is lost when boiled or simmered. I like to char, to bring out the flavour, which goes so well with the acidity of lemon and the sweetness of the root veg. Here I have kept them al dente by adding them a little after the artichokes, and have rubbed them with salt and a little agave syrup to intensify their flavour and ward off any bitterness.
I squeeze some juice over the roast Jerusalem artichokes and beets and add the lemon quarters to the roasting pan with the salt and olive oil, which lifts the dish, adding its beautiful fresh zing and complimenting the earthy flavours of the charred roots. Have them as a side, or as a light meal, dipping the roots into the sweet and sour and slight bitterness of the roasted and slightly charred lemon. Or with fresh chopped parsley. Or smoky style avocado ketchup… or… a fresh green salad with a creamy tahini and lemon dressing…
Beautiful roasted roots to make you smile and feel well, inside and out 🙂
- 250g Jerusalem artichoke
- 250g beetroot, variety of choice
- 1/2 unwaxed lemon
- salt, good sea salt or Himalayan, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil,
- 2-3 tbsp agave syrup or other natural syrup sweetener
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Wash vegetables thoroughly, and cut into chunks approx 1-2 inches, it can vary as the artichoke vary in thickness. Cut half a lemon in half again. Coat the vegetable chunks in olive oil, salt and a squeeze of the lemon. In the oven pan, rub extra salt and a little agave syrup into the beets. You can put the beets to one side and the artichokes to another if you want to keep the flavours separate. Put the vegetables into the oven to roast, turning them several times. I like to put the artichokes in first and then add the beetroot ten minutes into the bake, so keeping them al dente. The beets are prone to burning so need to be kept an eye on, and all will easily take on this darkness and intensity of flavour.
The artichokes will take about 30 mins, cook until soft and browned. Serve with a squeeze of the baked lemon and fresh herbs to taste, or as is, hot and delicious.
I like to keep the skin intact, as they're organic and full of goodness, but some may find the skins a little tough and prefer them removed. You could skin the and fry/ roast the skins separately serving them as a crispy accompaniment.
I have been listening to… Phil Spector ‘I can Hear Music (demo)’
I have been reading… Bill Bryson ‘Notes from a Big Country’