Soups are one of my favourite things to make in a kitchen. They warm you from the inside out and at this time of year in Dunedin it seems only right to get one cooking.
Once again I'm going to use smoked brie (because I can't get enough of it) and also Jerusalem artichokes. They only have a short season and are a nightmare to peel, so when I do indulge myself in their sweet waterchestnut-like flavour, I see it as a real treat for my palette and it's like falling in love with them for the first time all over again.
500g peeled Jerusalem artichokes
Juice of one lemon squeezed into a large bowl of water
1 large peeled white onion
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 ltr vegetable stock
300g smoked brie (we used Evansdale)
10g Wild Fennel Co. Sheep seasoning
Grapeseed oil for cooking
Olive oil to garnish
Loaf of sourdough
To prevent the artichokes from discolouring while preparing, keep them in the lemon water once they have been peeled. Discolouration won't effect the taste, but the overall look when finished cooking may be a little dull.
Thinly slice the artichokes along with the onions and add them to a hot pan with a good splash of the cooking oil. Caramelise lightly, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Next add the Wild Fennel Co. Sheep Seasoning, butter and garlic. Once the butter has melted and started to bubble away, give all the ingredients a mix and turn the heat down to a medium setting. Cook for a further 5 mins or until the onions and artichokes are soft.
Add the vegetable stock and leave it to rise up to a rolling boil. Waft the steam towards your nostrils and take a big whiff. Should smell pretty amazing by now. Now add the cream. Give the soup base a stir then turn the heat up. Make sure it doesn't come to the boil too rapidly as it will over boil and spill out onto your stove. Once it has risen to the the boil turn the heat down to a rolling boil once again and cook for a for a further 5 minutes.
Now take your cheese and roughly break it up and add it to the soup. Stir continuously until it has melted and take the pot off the heat.
Have a little taste and check to see if it needs more seasoning then transfer all the contents of the pot to a blender. Turn to a high speed and blend until smooth. Pass through a fine strainer to achieve a smooth consistency and rid the soup of any sediment.
Pour into bowls and garnish with a little swirl of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with a really crusty poolish style sourdough, buttered and sprinkled with sea salt.