Sunchoke Dumplings with Smoky Asparagus Puree and Bacon Matchsticks

posted in: Cooking, Savory | 23

plated puree 

A great dish is more often than not comprised of three elements. This is no exception.  You have a healthy yet creamy vegetable in the asparagus puree. Mix in a staple starch but do it with a seasonal, unique base a la sunchokes. Finish the whole thing with a perfect protein (homemade bacon fits the bill, no?) and you have a plate fit for a prince, king and queen.  If you have your own little prince or princess at home you’ll probably agree that a meal that suits the tastes of a manly king, dainty queen and persnickety prince/princess is not exactly easy to come by. This one succeeds in full purple regalia. 

sunchokes

Sunchokes are underground tubers that form the base of our starch. They are underground in more ways than one, if you catch my drift. You won’t typically see them at the supermarket, instead you’ll have to journey to the farmer’s market.  They grow underground and are otherwise known as Jerusalem artichokes, a name that is completely nonsensical. This name came about because English speakers had a hard time pronouncing girasole, which means sunflower in Italian, and is how Italians refer to these electrifying tubers.  They are full of zingy flavor, so dumplings from them are perhaps a stretch of the imagination, but an elegant one at that. 

closeup

It is springtime and for many of us across the Northern Hemisphere that means the return of asparagus in all its splendor (morning after not withstanding).  I can think of no better way to appreciate the muskiness of asparagus than to pair it with smoky bacon and rich heavy cream.  I did just that with this puree, which gets smoky flavor from the bacon matchsticks that get fried first then removed to a towel-lined plate.  The bacon fat acts as the base in which everything else gets cooked, thereby rooting the soup in its rich, outstanding essence.  The cream and bacon matchsticks are icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned, but the good, buttercream kind, not the nasty fondant crap. 

oh yes

I’ll share with you the recipe for the asparagus puree. The sunchoke gnocchi is more of a cook by feel rather than by rote kind of a thing, but if you’re desperate for that recipe as well, I can probably give you some estimation if you shoot over a comment or an email. 

Asparagus Puree

  • 1 bunch asparagus, tips reserved for another use
  • 4 oz bacon cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large spring onion, roughly chopped
  • Garlic powder to taste. 
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh Savory
  • ½ tbsb chopped fresh Thyme
  • 1 c chicken stock
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Fry the bacon matchsticks in a 12” nonstick skillet.  Remove to a towel-lined plate and reserve. 

Add the asparagus & onion to the skillet and fry for two minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic powder (I use garlic powder that I smoke and make myself), savory, thyme and chicken stock, lid the frying pan, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the asparagus is tender. 

Add the cream, salt and pepper, heat just to the boiling point, and puree, either with a wand or in your blender or food processor.  Adjust seasonings and enjoy.

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23 Responses

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  8. Po-po

    Just so you know, when bacon is cut/used like that, they are called “lardons”.

    Tasty spring recipe!

  9. Stunning as always! I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some sunchokes! This looks incredibly tasty! And LOVE Asparagus puree. Love that we’re on the same wavelength…just made some Pollo e Asparagi a few posts back which has an asparagus puree sauce!

  10. Does that make me a bad foodie if I’ve never had sunchokes before? I must get my hands on these STAT!

  11. My experience with sunchokes has been limited to the number of times that I have seen them used on different cooking shows. I’ve yet to come across them in the market here but you have inspired me to keep a very watchful eye out for them. I hope I can try this out!

  12. Linda

    Judy- pick some up next time, you’ll be happy you did.
    The Housewife-it would be a great dish to start!
    Roti n Rice- thank you so much.
    Ken-wish sunchokes were more readily available…

  13. Very interesting post! I just saw sunchokes at the Korean market (of all places) but I had no idea what there were. I even picked one up and smelled it but still couldn’t figure out what it was. LOL. I wanted to Google them when I got home, but course forgot all about them. Your dish looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  14. I love dumplings of all kinds! Never tried to cook with sunchoke but this looks like a great dish to start off with!

  15. I’ve heard of these sunchokes but bever had the opportunity to actually come across them. This sounds like a wonderful dish!

  16. Absolutely Divine! I love sunchokes; this is a total inspiration.

  17. Linda

    Julie- perfect combo, right? check it out with sunchokes if you find them.

    Chuck- thank you, wise one :)

    Foodlover- appreciate your photo love, thanks.

  18. I’ve never heard of sunchokes before but I can tell already that I would love them. Bacon, heavy cream and asparagus? Yep, you’ve got my attention. It sounds absolutely amazing!

  19. Foodlover25

    Beautiful. Love the photos

  20. ChuckSeattle

    Yum! Nice work…

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  22. @Heather (Heather’s Dish)
    It would make a wonderful sauce! These dumplings are essentially gnocchi and it pairs perfectly.

  23. i’ve never heard of sunchokes, but this makes me really excited to go out and find them! I love the idea of the asparagus puree…do you think you could use it as a sauce for pasta or gnocchi as well?

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