With two little ones, it certainly doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but Mr. Allie and I absolutely adore dining out. Over the years, Philadelphia has made a name for itself as one of the country’s best cities for food. Whenever we get the opportunity, we jump at the chance to try out one of the many fabulous restaurants that’s been making headlines. Recently, Philadelphia magazine listed the top 50 restaurants in the city, and we were pleased (and surprised!) to realize we had been to nearly half of them! Not bad for a family with a nonexistent babysitting budget…!
As much as we love city dining, we are suburbanites, and when we stumble across a hidden gem of a restaurant, that’s also in the ‘burbs, it’s like a double whammy! Great food, atmosphere, service, and a short drive? With no worries about parking? Yes please and THANK YOU!
The other night my mom graciously offered to take the boys for a sleepover, so we didn’t waste any time making a dinner reservation. Mr. Allie had heard good things about Honey, in Doylestown, and we were able to snag a table on relatively short notice (no small feat, if you too are interested in checking it out).
It was everything it’s cracked up to be and MORE! Love at first sight for us. There wasn’t a single thing on the menu we didn’t want to try. It’s a “small plates” kinda place, so we did get to order several things, and each dish was stellar. Our eyes were bigger than our bellies, so we over-ordered (how could we not?), but we weren’t getting mad at bringing leftovers home.
My number one favorite was their cream of sunchoke soup, and I knew instantly that I needed more of it in my life. First thing Monday morning I was scouring my local supermarket for sunchokes, a.k.a.: Jerusalem artichokes, so that I could do my best to recreate Honey‘s magic.
If you’ve never heard of Sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes, they are a tuberous vegetable that is actually not related to the artichoke at all, but rather, in the sunflower family. They look like a piece of ginger or a bulb you would plant in your flower garden. The texture is similar to jicama or a water chestnut, and they have an earthy, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor. I just love them, especially at this time of year, which is the peak of their season.
In this preparation, the goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and balsamic give a bright, tangy counterbalance to the earthy sunchokes, and the pistachios and chives tie in with their nutty and sweet flavor. The combination is a stroke of pure genius!
Saute the shallot in a little butter until soft and translucent. Add in the garlic (I like to use a garlic press) and saute until fragrant.
Pour the chicken stock over and bring to a gentle simmer.
Wash the sunchokes carefully with a vegetable brush and cut them into pieces that are roughly the same size. Add them to the pot and simmer, covered, until fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
Puree until smooth. Swirl in some half and half…
Garnish with a thick slice of goat’s cheese that’s been rolled in crushed pistachios, and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, for sweetness and crunch. (Check this out if you’re not sure how to de-seed a pomegranate.)
Drizzle with balsamic reduction (I love this kind. I put that s*** on everything!) and minced chives.
My version could never hold a candle to Honey‘s (I think they must have some fairy dust in their kitchen), but I think it’s a close second! Like heaven in a bowl, and so seasonal to boot! Just what you want to warm up with on a January day…
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 32 ounces chicken stock
- 2 pounds sunchokes/Jerusalem artichokes
- 1 cup half and half
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- ½ cup pistachio nuts, shelled and toasted
- ½ pomegranate, seeded
- prepared balsamic glaze, for garnish
- finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
- In a large pot, saute the shallots in butter until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Cover with chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
- Wash the sunchokes and cut them into pieces that are roughly the same size.
- Add to the pot, cover, and simmer until fork tender.
- Puree, and add the half and half.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roll the goat cheese in the toasted pistachios, and slice into thick rounds.
- Place a round of goat cheese into each bowl of soup, and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. Garnish with balsamic glaze and chives.
Do you ever try to copycat your favorite restaurant dishes? What have you taken a stab at recently? Was it a success?