Don't they look delicious?

Well, planted rather than builded, but it’s Sunday as I type so forgive the hymnal references.

A trip to the allotment today to plant some Jerusalem artichokes kindly donated by my mate Richard.¬† I’ve planted 12 tubers, which should give me anything up to 16 kilos of artichokes.

More on the plants at a later date (they’ve never been to Jerusalem, you know. It’s a corruption of girasol, the Italian word for sunflowers – they’re related) but for now a little recipe.

Much excitement and antipation chez Drooling¬† as I prepared to roast the artichokes as an accompanyment for Sunday lunch. The audience watched eagerly, making enthusiastic noises such as “Are you sure they’re not meant to be peeled?” and “What are those brown bits? Is that dirt?”.

An air of delighted anticipation filled the house. Smaller members of the family played it cool, pretending they were reluctant. “Do we have to eat them Dad?” they feigned. They’re so funny!

Mrs Drooling joined in the jollity. “Eeuurgh!” she sqealed, claiming that is was in fact Globe artichokes she’s always liked, and not their almost-namesakes. So convincing were their hilarious protestations that they even declined to finish their portions, pretending they were full.

I chuckled along, joining in their fun. “Don’t worry about leaving them” I said,¬† “16 kilos more to eat this year!”

You don’t need me to tell you how their happy little faces lit up on hearing this joyous news.

Anyway, on to the recipe:
Roast Jerusalem Artichokes

(serves a family of 5 as a side dish. A bit too much for 1 if the other 4 decide not to eat them)

500-600g artichokes, scrubbed

a lemon

olive oil (not the good stuff)

salt and pepper

thyme leaves, a finely chopped handful

Heat the oven to 200c. Don’t bother peeling the artichokes (and anyway, if you try you’ll end up so little artichoke left you may as well not bother).

Chop them into the size you want (try and keep them roughly the same size, that way they will cook at the same pace). Take a roasting dish that can go on the hob, put in a few splashes of oil and gently fry the artichokes, making sure to coat the cut sides.

When everything is sizzling, squeeze over the juice of the lemon, season and chuck in the thyme leaves. Give it all a good stir and stick in the oven.

Take it out when it’s ready. That’ll be about an hour, but it will depend on your oven, what else you’ve got cooking at the same time, etc etc.

One last thing; they taste delicious, but they won’t crisp up like roast potatoes. And yes, they do make you parp. Thus allowing you to take sweet revenge on anyone who won’t eat them…

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