Crème topinambours

Starter: Serves 4-6
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Indy Lifestyle Online

Topinambours, the French for Jerusalem artichokes, sounds so much more interesting ­ like a character from the Babar books. These knobbly little tubers have an acquired earthy taste which lends itself very well to this creamy soup. They're the sort of thing that needs some experience and confidence to cook. Not that they are difficult ­ though they're fiddly to peel ­ it's just a question of tracking them down and knowing what to do with them.

1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped and washed
A good knob of butter
500g Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and cut into quarters
1.5 litre vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2tbsp double cream

Melt the butter in a saucepan and gently cook the onion and leek until soft. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and continue to cook for a further 5 minutes without colouring. Add the vegetable stock and lightly season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and simmer for about 25 minutes until the artichokes are cooked.

Blend in a liquidiser until smooth then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Reserve some of the stock when blending to adjust the consistency of the soup if necessary. Return to a clean pan with the double cream, bring to the boil and season more if necessary.