A what-choke? A sunchoke. What’s that? Wikipedia says that “despite its name, the Jerusalem artichoke has no relation to Jerusalem, and it is not a type of artichoke, even though both are members of the Daisy family.” Does that help? No. Ok – Sunchokes are basically root vegetables. Like a cross between a potato and a rutabaga. They look weird (kind of like ginger root) but taste amazing. Better than potatoes.
They’re also simple to prepare. Just give them a good scrubbing, peel them as best you can and toss them into a covered casserole dish with olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and thyme. Into the oven for 30 – 45 minutes and your whole house will smell wonderfully of garlic. And if you make these before you go to work, you too will smell wonderfully of roast garlic. All day. I should know.
If you’ve ever seen these at the grocery store or farmer’s market and thought – what on earth can I do with those? This is your recipe. And if you can’t find sunchokes, or the thought of them creeps you out, just use potatoes or any other tuber. Because there’s nothing better than something roasted in garlic oil.
2 lbs. sunchokes
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/3 cup olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
Preheat your oven to 375°. Scrub your sunchokes until they look pretty clean, then peel them with a small knife or vegetable peeler as best you can. No need to go crazy here – just get most of the peel off.
Place the sunchokes into an oven-save casserole dish. Cover with the remaining ingredients and give everything a quick stir to make sure the sunchokes are coated.
Bake for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occassionally (time will depend on the size of your chokes). They should be fork-tender (like a potato) when they’re ready.
Mash them up a bit with a fork or potato masher and serve.
Makes 4 – 6 side servings.