In Nigel Slater's Tender, which presents separate entries on every imaginable product from his garden, the chapter about Jerusalem artichokes (also known as sunchokes) mentions farting within two sentences, and does not relent through the remainder. "Jerusalem artichokes make you fart," he explains plainly. A "triumphant wind." "Wind is almost inevitable. Just go with it."
British writers are, of course, the best.
That said, it's been gray days aplenty here in Vancouver, and a recipe for the "deepest winter" felt fitting. I'm a great fan of one-pot cooking, an even bigger fan of meals that provide into the next day, and that's without even thinking about the sausages.
Nigel Slater's Jerusalem artichoke and sausage casserole (from Tender)
8 "really good" pork sausages (we used chicken and kale sausages, turkey and kale brats, and bison sausages, New Year's resolutions and all)
4 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
250g small mushrooms
500g Jerusalem artichokes (this worked out to be around 6 tennis ball sized ones)
a large lemon
1 tsp fennel seeds
light stock or water to cover (500 ml)
a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
steamed kale, spring cabbage, etc. to serve
Brown the sausages in a deep casserole. Set aside.
Peel the onions, cut into thick segments, then add to the same pan, adding more oil if needed.
Let the onions soften over moderate heat, until tender enough to crush with a wooden spoon. Do not rush. Peel and finely slice the garlic, and add to the onions. Halve the mushrooms and add those too.
Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes. As Slater mentions, don't peel them if you don't need to: they will end up as mush if you do. Halve them, then add them to the pan, pushing aside the onions so that the artichokes can colour slightly. Add the sausages back in. Cut the lemon into thick wedges, and add that along with the fennel seed, and salt/pepper to season.
Pour enough stock or water to cover (nb. we added enough to cover everything, which ended up being way too much liquid - the artichokes were cooked well before the liquid was reduced. Though we ended up with a great tasting broth, you might want to reduce the amount of stock/water a bit); if you can use stock instead. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer.
Once the Jerusalem artichokes are fork tender (about 20min. or so), you're done. If there's too much liquid, turn up the heat to reduce. If not, stir in the parsley, check the seasoning and serve with the greens.
By the end, I ended up calling them Jerusalem fartichokes.