Back in the day when we were first married (guys, that was 40 years ago!), we lived in a run down house in the country without running water and only a wood stove for heat. The road we lived on was used so infrequently that grass grew down the middle of the road in spots.
The woman who delivered our mail was one of the few vehicles that we saw in a day, and this wonderful woman was worried about us – we were just kids. She would leave presents in our mailbox from her garden. One of the things she would leave were Jerusalem artichokes, which I had never before experienced.
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Over the years, I’ve grown Jerusalem artichoke, but I inevitably end up pulling them all up because they can be so invasive. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to enjoy them – I find them growing wild near our cottage at the lake, and they’re also available at local farmer’s markets.
I’ve enjoyed Jerusalem artichokes raw and cooked, but I was delighted when I found a recipe for them in Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi; illustrated by Wendy Hollender.
Falconi uses the Jerusalem artichoke in a way I hadn’t thought of – in Shepherd’s Pie. She calls the pie Hunter’s Pie when venison is used and I’m following suit. Feel free to use ground beef, lamb or venison. It’s all good!
Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook by Dina Falconi is a gorgeous book, with botanical illustrations by Wendy Hollender (see the above illustration for Jerusalem artichoke). The book features 50 wild edible plants found in many of the temperate zones throughout the world. Each is beautifully illustrated for precise identification.
I quickly realized how genius this is. With most “normal” recipes, you run to the grocery store when you don’t have an item on hand.
Not so easy with foraging. With all the variations you can easily use another root crop you’ve foraged or grown, for example, instead of the artichokes in this recipe for Hunter’s Pie.
The following recipe is very close to the one in Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. I’ve made some minor changes, mostly with the herbs, based on the ingredients I had on hand.
One of the ingredients I used instead of the ketchup that the author calls for is ketchup I made from autumn olives foraged in the fall. It was a perfect substitute.
Other recipes in Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook that use Jerusalem artichoke include Jerusalem Artichoke Bisque and Braised Meat with Jerusalem Artichoke.