Today I’m sharing a recipe by Stephanie Alexander, one of my food heroes. Her passionate dedication to her vision for a country where children grow up connected to the sources of their food by learning how to grow, harvest, prepare and share delicious food, has led to the establishment of Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program in hundreds of schools around Australia. You can read the whole story here. In many ways it is thanks to her and the success of her program, that I am able to earn my living doing something I love – teaching children how to cook, using the gorgeous, organic produce that they’ve grown in their school gardens.
Sometimes, I have to pinch myself. I remember some years ago, standing in a bookshop, babe on hip, wistfully poring over the pages of Stephanie’s first book on the subject, Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids. At that time, I remember thinking what a wonderful idea it was, how inspired I felt flicking through the pages, and how hard it was to put it back on the shelf.
I loved that the program sought to create kitchens in schools that looked and felt like home rather than the sterile home economics rooms of yesteryear, that food acceptance was taught through positive experience and pleasure, not food pyramids, and that food labels such as healthy or unhealthy, good or bad were thrown away in favour of words like fragrant, juicy, sweet and slippery. When you are cooking from the garden, it’s all good! It resonated deeply with my own beliefs about kids and food and I wanted more.
Fast forward a few years, we are looking at high school options for that little babe, and each day that I go to work I find myself right there amongst the pages of that book (figuratively speaking!). At the time, I would have been happy just to have taken the book home – I never dreamt that it would become something that I live and breathe every day.
So these days, part of my job (along with working with gorgeous children and passionate, awesome adults) is to design menus based on what’s ready to harvest from the garden. Jerusalem artichokes are one of those vegetables that, once planted, reward the gardener with an abundant harvest year after year. The problem for many people is knowing what to do with them all. I have used the basic recipe shown here with lots of different vegetables over the years, and they are always a winner with the kitchen garden kids. Thanks Stephanie!
Glazed Jerusalem Artichokes
500g jerusalem artichokes
40 g of butter
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 fresh bay leaf
Several sprigs of parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Give the jerusalem artichokes a good scrub with a veggie brush, then, using a vegetable peeler, remove any darkened or rough patches that may be left on the surface. Chop into 2cm pieces.
Boil the water, turn down to a simmer, then carefully drop in the artichokes, along with a pinch of salt. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
Heat butter and sugar in a sauté pan or wide-based saucepan over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir with the wooden spoon to ensure mixture doesn’t stick to pan.
Tip in artichokes and shake to coat with the syrupy liquid. Add stock and bay leaf, then cover and simmer for around 10 minutes.
Test artichokes with a skewer. If tender, remove lid, increase heat to high and shake pan so the liquid evaporates, coating everything with the golden sauce.
Season with pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.