Palestine Soup

This name was given to soup made from Jerusalem artichokes for obvious reasons. In reality, however, artichokes have nothing to do with Jerusalem. The word was a corruption of the Italian girasole, sunflower, and Jerusalem artichokes belong to the sunflower family.

Palestine soup has been made in many parts of England for centuries but this particular recipe comes from Somerset. It is one of the best white soups in the world.


  • 3 lb ( kg) Jerusalem artichokes
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 medium onion, cut in quarters
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • cups (6 dl) milk
  • ¾ stick (90 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (30 g) flour
  • 4 tablespoons double cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley


Peel the artichokes; the irregular shape of the roots means that there will be some waste but about pounds ( kg) should be left. Drop each root as it is peeled into cold water to which a squeeze of lemon juice has been added. When all are done, put them in a saucepan with the onion, salt and pepper and just cover with cold water. Simmer gently until quite soft — about 20 minutes. Add the milk and about one-third of the butter and bring to the boil again. Allow to cool slightly, then purée the artichokes and liquid, using a blender or vegetable mill.

In the saucepan in which the artichokes were cooked, melt the remaining butter and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute and then slowly stir in the artichoke purée, allowing it to come just to the boil. The result should be a soup of the consistency of thin cream. Stir in the cream, check the seasoning and serve very hot, sprinkling each bowl with chopped parsley.