Rachel's Table

Happy CSA Day! {Week One}

“It’s CSA Day!”

In my excitement about picking up my very first Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative winter CSA box, I uttered that phrase all day on Tuesday of last week. Who can blame me? A box of organic, locally grown root vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes and the most beautiful stalk of brussels sprouts I’ve ever seen awaited me at my pick up spot – Home Grown Cafe.

I don’t even think nerds get this excited about Star Wars.

This week's CSA booty

CSA booty – Week One

The most interesting part about purchasing a CSA farm share is you never know what you’re going to get. I mean, I know it’s winter and most likely I’ll get a ton of root vegetables, but WHAT KINDS of root vegetables will be in my box? Last week the surprise item was Jerusalem artichokes. I’ve never seen them, cooked them, or tasted them.

Jerusalem artichokes - not the prettiest girl at the party but she makes up more it in practicality and common sense

Jerusalem artichokes – not the prettiest girl at the party but she makes up for it in practicality and common sense

Despite their misleading name, Jerusalem artichokes are part of the sunflower family and sometimes called sunchokes or sun roots. I don’t think they taste like artichokes at all, but French explorer Samuel de Champlain did. So that’s what he called them when he brought them back to Europe from the New World. Mr. de Champlain found them in a Native American garden in Cape Cod, Massachusetts where they became a diet staple of the Pilgrims settling in Plymouth (my former hometown).

After a little internet research, I discovered that Jerusalem artichokes are high in protein, low in starch and just like other root vegatables–good for mashing, roasting, or throwing in soups–but they also saute well and taste great raw. A versatile little tuber!

Using the mushrooms from my CSA box and a couple of sausages, I channeled the Pilgrims and made an easy one pot meal perfect for cold weather.

Winter One Pot Meal with Sausages and Jerusalem Artichokes

Ingredients

4 sausages – any kind (I used Italian-style chicken sausages, because that’s what I had on hand from the farmers market. Skip the sausage if you’re a veggie)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, largely diced

8 ounces white mushrooms, halved (Baby Bellas were in my CSA box)

10 Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed (they are VERY dirty, so scrub them well!) and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces

2 cloves garlic, chopped

zest of one lemon

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Brown the sausages all over in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep skillet. Set aside. Add the onions to the skillet, adding more olive oil if necessary. Let the onions soften over medium heat, until they are VERY tender and melting. I let them hang out in the pan for about 20 minutes while I prepped the rest of the ingredients.

Lovely nitrate-free chicken sausages

Lovely nitrate-free chicken sausages

When the onions are brown and melting, add the garlic. Push the onions aside and add the mushrooms, allowing them to brown in the pan. Push the mushrooms and onions aside and add the Jerusalem artichokes. Let them brown a bit too.

Get some color on those sunchokes

Get some color on those sunchokes

Add the lemon zest, kosher salt, and pepper. Give everything a good stir. Add the sausages back into the pan, along with the thyme sprigs. Pour enough water in the skillet to just cover the veggies. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat to low. Simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the Jerusalem artichokes are tender. If there’s too much liquid in the skillet, uncover, turn the heat up and allow to simmer and reduce. The broth is so flavorful and rich because of those melting onions and yummy mushrooms.

Ready for their water bath

Ready for their water bath

The Jerusalem artichokes add a sweet and nutty flavor to this dish - I hope I get more in my CSA box this week

The Jerusalem artichokes add a sweet and nutty flavor to this dish – I’m hoping for more in my CSA box this week

What’s your favorite winter vegetable? And can someone PLEASE tell me what to do with a very large rutabaga?!?

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40 comments

  1. Can’t help you with the rutabaga, large or otherwise. Sorry!

    When I first saw those in the picture, I thought mushrooms. I’m glad you explained that they were NOT indeed that evil fungus that I loathe . . . but then you ruined it by putting mushrooms in your recipe. Blech! That’s ok, besides the mushrooms, that looks delicious. If I ever make it, I will just omit. No prob! 🙂 (Yeah, in case you missed it . . . I am NOT a mushroom fan. At all. Ever).

    And that is indeed a glorious looking brussels sprouts bunch. Yummy.

    • It would be good without the mushrooms, Misty, but I would add veg or chicken stock instead of water–for flavor. The mushrooms add a lot of flavor to the broth. I was surprised at how good this was.

      I will omit any mushrooms from our bloggy brunch.

  2. Rachel, I am so happy you posted your recipe for Jerusalem artichokes! It looks delicious.
    I am kind of jealous about that wonderful Brussels sprout stalk you got, I haven’t got any at my “CSA” here in Lille (yet), but I guess that is the fun part of being in a CSA, you never know what you will get.
    As to rutabaga, it is good in soups (with a little Maple Syrup), mashed, sauteed, roasted, and in a gratin. I have never had it raw, I don’t know whether that would be good at all.

    • I’m so hoping I get more to make your soup! There is NOTHING I love more than a pureed, creamy soup.

      I think I’ll try the rutabaga mashed, although a gratin is a good idea, too! And with all root veggies, when all else fails, just roast it.

  3. What’s with that Misty chick and her hostility toward mushrooms!? My favorite root, besides the potato, is probably celery root, which I like to mash and also make savory little pancakes with to top with fish. Rutabagas supposedly caramelize nicely, but I’ll believe it when I see it. You can put those turnips in a nice Moroccan cous cous if you wanna mix up your routine.

    • Ever since that fateful winter day where a rogue band of mushrooms kindnapped my family, held them for ransom and poisoned my poor dog, those nefarious fungi have been my sworn mortal enemies!!

      Oh, and also, they are yucky. 😉

      • Then I, too, am your sworn enemy. For I am the defender of the Kingdom of Mushrooms, wherever they may be. I even defend the hideous gomphideous, despite it’s sliminess. Well, okay, maybe NOT the hideous gomphideous… but all OTHER mushrooms! Perhaps you just haven’t been properly introduced to the many culinary virtues of fungi…

    • I’ve never made celery root at home, but love a good celery root puree at a restaurant. I used some of those turnips in a soup, but still have some left over for cous cous.

      I can’t imagine a rutabaga caramelizing. It’s just so dense and starchy.

      PS – Long Live the Mushroom!

      • You have to break the rutabaga down and THEN caramelize it. (i.e. by boiling or roasting it.) I wonder if you could make rutabaga fries? That’s an interesting idea — with a roast chicken and gravy? Mmmmm.

      • I know!!!

        Let me know how they turn out if you try that. I would probably cut the fries, parboil them for 15 or 20 minutes, and then pan fry them in some oil over medium low heat, moving around and turning them, until they were golden and crispy.

      • Hey, just opened my new issue of “The Week” (good magazine, if you don’t get it)… and there was a recipe for sausage, rutabaga, apples and sauerkraut. Serve with grainy mustard and beer? OMG

      • Ahh, ganging up on me are you? I see I am outnumbered here on this site. I will take my loathing for that horrible veggie and be on my way. I feel we will have to agree to disagree as to the detestable taste of said shrooms. And yes, I have been subjected to many a preparation and dish full of those dreadful fungi. No manner of skilled cookery or magic will ever convince me that they are anything other than evil incarnate.

        Until we meet again, my adversary in tastebuds!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  4. OMG THE BRUSSELS SPROUTS!!!! I died.

    My rutabaga recipe is easy and foolproof, and it’s requested ALL THE TIME by Husbandio.

    1. Wrap the rutabaga in paper towel and throw it in the microwave for about 25 minutes.
    2. Remove from microwave, toss the paper towel and wrap it in aluminum foil packet to continue steam-cooking for about 20 – 30 minutes.
    3. Remove from aluminum foil, and the skin will just come right off SO SO SO easily.

    Then I usually put it in a bowl with a bit of butter, salt, and pepper and mash it. Then I saute some onions and mushrooms and throw them on top. Seriously AMAZING!

    This Wednesday is veggie box day at our house and I’m DYING with excitement. Did you happen to see my blog about what happens to my fridge on veggie box day?

    http://mylifeisthebestlife.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/extreme-makeover-the-best-life-edition/

    And then this other post was after one of my first veggie boxes and it even mentions the rutabaga.

    http://mylifeisthebestlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/the-veggies-are-here-the-veggies-are-here/

    I have SERIOUS veggie box excitement. I FEEL YOU ON THIS ONE!

  5. I can’t wait for the mushroom quiche you’re making next month. Mmmm mmm MMMM!

    That is a beautiful bounty. I am jealous. I love a good baked yam with butter when the weather turns nasty. I’m in the mood to make a chicken pot pie now, but B Man still refuses to share his pie crust secret(s). Martha Stewart’s been keeping me in the game, though.

  6. Pretty! It looks yummy. Never heard of Jerusalem artichokes before. I’m so doing a CSA next year. We talk about it every spring and then when it rolls around, we always back out. Gorgeous carrots and Brussels sprouts you got in there — I love making Brussels sprouts!

    • I’m just amazed that this is a WINTER share. I can’t imagine how awesome their regular share is in the spring and summer. I highly recommend it! I love learning about and cooking new things. Last year I received garlic scapes in one of my CSA boxes. So, so good!

  7. This was good! We didn’t know what to do with the Jerusalem artichokes. We used a loose homemade chorizo; it was great with these veggies. Thanks for sharing.

    My wife made a rutabaga & apple purée that was actually really good. Especially once she added butter and cinnamon.

    • Hi Francis! Glad you liked it! Chorizo is always a winning choice in my book. I STILL haven’t done anything with the rutabaga, but mixing it with apple sounds lovely, especially since cinnamon is one of my favorite things.

  8. Love it! How were the artichokes? Roots are where it’s at in fall and winter, fruits in spring and summer. I would have bee disappointed to not have gotten the greens from the turnip and carrot, tho.

    PS — if you ever get kohlrabi with the leaves intact, they are the BEST wilted and eaten hot.

    • I know! I was surprised they took the greens off. The artichokes were amazing. Loved this recipe so much and will make it again sans the sausages if I can get my hands on more sun chokes. They pair well with mushrooms.

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