Monday, 11 January 2021

Sunchokes and Leeks a la boulangere

Sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes, or as they are known in our distinctly vulgar household, fartichokes) are in season now in France and very popular with older rural people. Leeks are also good quality at the moment as they overwinter well.

Ingredients for sunchokes and leeks a la boulangere. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Leeks, sunchokes and butter.



150 g butter

2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced

1 kg sunchokes, scrubbed, trimmed and sliced

2 cups vegetable stock

Salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 180C.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan on medium heat.
  3. Add the leeks and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Grease a large gratin dish with butter.
  5. Layer the sunchokes and leeks in the gratin dish. You don't have to be too neat, but mix them up and make sure they are even and laying more or less flat.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pour the stock over.
  8. Bake for an hour.

Sliced leeks. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Sliced leeks.

This is a very old fashioned dish, which once used to be baked in the cooling bread oven. Village housewives, who often didn't have an oven of their own, would take the dish down to the boulangerie for baking.  Sunchoke in French is topinambour, and leeks are poireaux. In English we call these old fashioned vegetables 'heritage vegetables'. In French they are les légumes oubliés ('forgotten vegetables').

You can substitute potatoes (Fr. pommes de terre) for the sunchokes, to make the more classic dish pommes de terre à la boulangère.

Laiterie de Verneuil butter. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Butter from our local dairy co-op, Laiterie de Verneuil.

Leftovers (Fr. les restes) can be mashed or puréed and mixed with some creamy blue cheese, such as fourme d'Ambert, then more stock added until you have the consistency of a soup. Heat and ladle into bowls. Yum!



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Ken Broadhurst said...

Thanks for the idea. I was admiring the leeks and fartichokes at SuperU yesterday, but I instead got turnips and celery (stalks). Next time 'chokes and leeks.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Heck your butters a bit out of date... That would increase the flavour...

Susan said...

Photo from the archive.

Susan said...

Celery has also been good this year (for once!)

Jean said...

Sounds delicious, right up our street.
Fartichokes (I will always call them that from now on.....although I don't particularly remember that effect myself....) were everywhere in the French supermarkets but we hardly ever see them in the UK. I'll look out for them on the websites for our click n collect - we're trying to stay out of actual shops at the mo.

Susan said...

You must be one of the few lucky ones who can eat fartichokes with impunity. Definitely stay away from the shops. I've come down with a stomach bug, and I can only have caught it at the shops or the market. Just shows you how easy it is, even being careful.

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