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Braised Leeks, Caramelized Sunchokes and Sunchoke Chips

Related Ingredients
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Tasting Notes

Two perfectly paired vegetables come together for this simply elegant side dish.

Leeks, simmered low and slow in chicken stock, butter, thyme and bay leaves, lend their sweet bite without a lot of work. Meanwhile, knobby sunchokes are caramelized in grapeseed oil to bring nuttiness and mild bitterness to the plate. Crispy and salty sunchoke chips add textural appeal and make fine-looking golden garnish.

Tips & Techniques

  1. Avoid oxidation. Sunchokes oxidize quickly – meaning, they turn brown after they are cut and exposed to the air. To avoid this, keep cut sunchokes in a bowl of water until you’re ready to use them.
  2. Save your skin. Wash your sunchokes well and remove any parts that looks bruised or oxidized, but don’t peel them. Their thin skin is edible and very flavorful.
  3. The cold oil method. To ensure even coloring, add the sunchoke chips to cold oil and then turn up the heat. They are ready when they are golden brown and the bubbles in the oil slow down.

Toolbox

These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.

  1. Toothbrush. A new toothbrush is a great tool for cleaning sunchokes – it can remove dirt without taking off too much of the sunchokes’ thin but flavorful skin.

The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.

  • Medium sauté pan with lid
  • Peeler
  • Toothbrush
  • Medium sauté pan with lid
  • Mandolin
  • Medium bowl of water
  • Deep sauté pan or pot
  • Spider or slotted spoon
  • Plate with paper towels
  • Small pot
  • Strainer
  • Digital or probe thermometer
  • Tweezers
  • Offset spatula or spatula
  • Small baking sheet with rack


Ingredients

For the Leeks:

  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut in ½ inch rounds
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

 

For the Sunchoke Chips:

  • 4 ounces sunchokes, cleaned
  • Canola oil or grapeseed oil
  • Salt

 

For the Caramelized Sunchokes:

  • 8 ounces sunchokes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canola oil or grapeseed oil

 

Serves: 4

Total Time: 40 Minutes

Active Time: 40 Minutes

Method

For the Leeks:

  1. Keeping the rings of the leeks intact, carefully place them in a single layer in small sauté pan with all other ingredients.
  2. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until leeks are soft and sweet.
  3. Remove lid and continue simmering over medium heat  (approximately 5 minutes) to reduce the liquid by half.

 

For the Sunchoke Chips:

  1. Slice the sunchokes thinly on a mandolin, about the thickness of a quarter. Keep slices in bowl of water until ready to use.
  2. When ready to fry, strain the slices and drain them on paper towels and pat them dry.
  3. Heat a heavy-bottomed, deep sauté pan on medium high heat. Add oil and sunchoke slices. Bring oil up to 350°F (check with a digital meat thermometer or a probe thermometer). Fry the slices in the oil until they are light golden brown and have stopped bubbling.
  4. Remove the chips using a spider or slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt and serve immediately.

 

For the Caramelized Sunchokes:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash sunchokes. Trim the dark areas using a peeler, but do not completely peel them. Keeping the peel on adds flavor to the final product.
  3. Cut the sunchokes in half. Place a medium-sized, oven-safe sauté pan over high heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add the sunchoke halves cut-side down and leave in pan until the cut side starts to brown. Once first side browns, flip over sunchokes and add garlic and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and roast for 5 to 8 minutes. Pour sunchokes on rack over a baking sheet to remove some of the oil, but not all.

Here is a great way to turn this dish into a meal

Gourmet pizza & sunchoke chip- arugula salad

Make a gourmet white pizza with the leeks, mozzarella, Parmesan and sautéed mushrooms.  Toss the sunchoke chips in an arugala salad with balsamic vinaigrette for a light side.

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