The first time I pulled celeriac out of the CSA box a dozen years ago, I was pretty sure the farm was pulling a prank of us. I mean, really, have you seen this thing? But ever the trooper, I followed the owner’s instructions and whipped up a lovely soup and used the remainder pieces for some crunchy snacking.
It turns out, celeriac is a fantastic soup base because it breaks down well, making a silky smooth backdrop for almost anything else you want to throw in with it. Its mild celery undertones never overwhelm the finished soup, and conveniently, eliminate the need for that stringy vegetable. I’ve used celeriac now for carrot soup, beet soup, turnip soup, and probably a few more root vegetables that I can’t remember right now. When I find celeriac at the market, I buy it. I know it’ll get put to good use.
Per the recommendation in Three Good Things, I paired it today with another familiar fall veg: Brussels sprouts (and–optional–the last bit of bacon hiding out in the freezer). Good call, Hugh. Good call. Overall, it took about an hour from beginning to end and both of us enjoyed it quite a bit. I see this becoming a regular part of the fall-winter soup season around here.
Based on amounts I had on hand, I modified things a bit but the author would no doubt recognize the overall recipe.
Pat of butter
1 T olive oil
white onion, chopped
large celeriac bulb, peeled & cubed
1 quart vegetable stock
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved
1/4 pound streaky bacon, cut into strips (short-way)
1/2 C whipping cream
salt & pepper
Warm up the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan, add onion and sweat gently for 3-4 minutes.
Add the celeriac, stir, cover pot and let heat through for 10 minutes. Add the stock, heat to boil, and then drop hat back to a simmer until celeriac is clearly softening (5-10 minutes). Add the sprouts, stir well, cook for 5 minutes.
If using, fry up the bacon at this point and blot the fully-cooked bacon pieces on paper towels.
When sprouts are tender, puree with an immersion blender or CAREFULLY in a heat-resistant blender. (hot liquid + sudden motion = explosive force: physics works)
Back in the pot, off the heat, add the cream and stir to combine. Reheat gently, if needed. Stir in bacon pieces or use as a garnish, if using. Taste test, adding salt & pepper as needed.
If vegan, omit the butter and just use more olive oil in the beginning. The cookbook’s author recommends toasted, blanched almonds or crunchy garlic-bread croutons to give the soup some crunch and greater curb appeal.
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