Down-to-earth Girasole Soup with an oriental twist

by Hetty
Coconut Topinambur Soup
Have you ever tried girasole (topinambur in German)? I bet that most of you people haven’t, as this seems to be a very recent trendy veggie, even though it’s actually really old. But somehow it seems to have been forgotten for many years and now it’s coming back as one of the new-old kind of vegetables that the whole world seems to freak out about. Maybe a little bit like kale (even though this is a very traditional dish in Germany as Anna told you)
Tropical Topinambur Soup
Well, girasole is actually new to me and this is the first dish I have tried with it. When I bought it in the supermarket, the lady at the check-out asked what you do with girasole (she was as new to the topic as me) and I just said: “Soup. You can use it like potatoes.” So soup it is and it actually can be used like potatoes just as I said in the supermarket without having a clue…
Tobinambur soup
While we are heaving quite a lot of smog here in northern France right now and temperatures have dropped again after last weekend with lots of sun, this soup was just right to comfort me with its down-to-earth base of veggies refined with oriental spices.

Here’s what you need for 2 people as a main dish
(adapted from Essen&Trinken
3-4 girasoles
4 middle-sized potatoes
3 large carrots
75g beluga lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
400ml coconut milk (1 can)
200-300ml water
ras el hanout or curry powder
some fresh mint leaves

Peel the girasoles, potatoes and carrots and chop them into cubes or slices. Wash the lentils in a sieve.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot on the stove. Put all the veggies in and stir until the oil has been soaked up and the potatoes and girasoles show lightly roasted crusts.
Late winter soup topinambur
Shake the can of coconut milk and add it with the water to the vegetables in the pot. Season with salt, pepper and curry powder. I actually used Ras el hanout and it worked just as fine for me as curry powder would have done.
Soup with topinambur
Bring the soup to boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes on low heat. Stir from time to time to make sure that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. After 25 minutes, try if the lentils are al dente. If they are still to firm, keep cooking for some more minutes. Usually beluga lentils can be cooked within 25 minutes, which is why they work so well in this recipe. If you think that you other veggies might get too mushy, you can also add them later and only start with the lentils first.
Topinambur Carrot Coconut Soup
Once the lentils are good (and the other veggies as well obviously), turn off the heat and take the pot off the stove. Take about a quarter of the soup and put it into a high blender bowl. Blend the soup with a blender, and then add it back to the soup. Stir in the blended mousse well in order to thicken the soup a little bit.
Late winter soup topinambur
Before serving, garnish with some fresh mint leaves. Enjoy this delicious end of winter soup!


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