Chef Tips: Jerusalem Artichokes

Jerusalem artichoke soup at Stage. The sunchokes and arugula shown are from Linda & George Szasz's garden. Photo by Ellie Shortt

Despite the name, Jerusalem artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem, and are not actually artichokes at all. Also known as sunchokes, sunroots, earth apples, or topinambours, they’re a species of sunflower and are native to North America. Don’t be misled by their most common name – Jerusalem artichokes are healthy and delicious, with endless cooking possibilities such as boiling, steaming, frying and stewing. Perfect for those on a bit of a time crunch, these versatile veggies can be used similarly to potatoes, but cook a lot faster.  And right now is peak sunchoke season! To inspire our readers, five local chefs have given their recommendations as to what they would do with a Jerusalem artichoke.


Chef George Szasz, Stage Wine Bar

Chef George Szasz has taken full advantage of this seasonal ingredient by plucking it from the Stage garden (along with some remaining arugula and onions) to make a warming winter soup. Chef Szasz wanted to let the flavour speak for itself, and simply sautéed chopped sunchokes with onions and butter. Once soft, he puréed the mix, adding chicken stock, a dash of salt and pepper and some fresh arugula pesto to taste. He finishes it off with a garnish of pumpkin seeds, chives, and a dollop of vanilla bean crème fraiche.

Stage Wine Bar: 1307 Gladstone Ave Victoria, BC (250) 388-4222


Chef Sam Chalmers, The Black Hat by Bistro 28

Chef Sam Chalmers has also been experimenting with Jerusalem artichokes this season, and has included them in some fall menu items. By simply roasting these tubers with olive oil, seasoning them with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, and pairing them with sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, Chef Chalmers transforms sunchokes into an easy side dish for dark meat like venison or duck breast.

The Black Hat by Bistro 28: 1005 Langley St Victoria, BC (250) 381-2428


Chef Laurie Munn, Café Brio

For a sweet and savoury take on the sunchoke, Chef Laurie Munn has been using this ingredient to make an innovative panna cotta. He first chops the Jerusalem artichokes and boils them with milk. Once soft, Chef Munn purees and seasons the mix, and adds a bit of gelatine for shape. Chef Munn serves his sunroot panna cotta with roasted seasonal vegetables and cracked black pepper.

Café Brio: 944 Fort St Victoria, BC (250) 383-0009


Chef Chris Hess, Prime Steak House

While Chef Chris Hess doesn’t have any Jerusalem artichokes in the Prime kitchen at the moment, he did just receive some fresh Qualicum Bay scallops that he says would go wonderfully with our Chef Tips featured suggestion. To unite these two ingredients, Chef Hess suggests simmering chopped sunchokes with garlic and sliced ginger until they’re soft. He would then purée the veggies and mix in some whipping cream for a fluffy mash. Chef Hess would cook the scallops in a hot oven for 1 minute, place them on the mash, and then top it all with a small sprinkling of sesame seeds. To accompany this, Chef Hess would thinly slice the remaining sunchokes, season them with salt, pepper and Chinese five-spice powder, and deep-fry them until they become golden brown chips.

Prime Steak House, 623 Courtney St Victoria, BC (250) 386-2010


Chef Dave Craggs, Ferris’ Oyster Bar

For another scallop and sunchoke combo, Chef Craggs would also boil and purée this agreeable root vegetable and then cook them with chicken stock for extra flavour. To give the recipe a kick, Chef Craggs suggests adding one of his favourite ingredients of the moment – mapled bacon.

Ferris’ Oyster Bar, 536 Yates St Victoria, BC (250) 360-1824


By Ellie Shortt

Written By:

We get many people writing guest articles for us, as well as past contributors. This is the Guest ...

Comments are closed.