Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celery Root Soup

The week before Thanksgiving there was a one-time-only winter opening of the Tacoma Farmers Market.  It was held in a different location and during different hours, but featured many of the regular vendors from the summer market.  That day I worked through lunch to leave work early and braved the cold, wet storm that was forecast.  The weather was nasty and I felt terrible for the vendors, many of whom greeted me from behind chattering teeth. 

My buddy, Dave from Blue Rose Dairy, was there but I didn't buy any more of his offerings.  I have enough already.  He did tell me that their dairy hopes to start offering aged cheese in a couple of years.  Yippee!!  He told me about some of their experiments, half of which have gone bad.  It's an expensive proposition.

What I did buy was as much fresh produce as I thought we could eat, not knowing when I'd get another chance to buy such goodies.  My bag held fresh chard, 2 pretty yellow squash, fava beans, fennel, and celery root.  I've probably forgotten something else that was in there.

Have you ever bought a celery root?  It's ugly and intimidating.  I happen to love nearly every root vegetable, except beets, making this a safe bet for me.
Photo from

Since my husband can be a picky eater I was a little apprehensive about how to use this fugly veggie.  I finally decided, since it was a dark and stormy night, that soup was on the docket.  I settled upon David Lebowitz' soup in part because I had most of the ingredients.  But mostly I just wanted to live vicariously through him because he lives in Paris and, well... I don't.

As for the hubbie, he approved of this recipe!  He actually had seconds and ate more soup the next day. 

Note that as made, this is not a vegetarian meal.  By trading the chicken stock for vegetable stock and omitting and animal-derived but delicious garnishes, this could easily be made into a vegan meal.

Celery Root Soup, adapted from David Lebowitz's blog

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (you can also use leeks)
Salt (I used some truffle sea salt I've had for a while)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large celery root (about 3-pounds, 1.5kg), peeled and cubed
1 tart apple such as a Granny Smith, peeled and cubed
1 quart chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make this vegetarian)
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly-ground pepper
Cream is optional
Bacon is also optional

1. In a large pot, melt the butter with the olive oil.

2. Add the onion and cook for about five minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic cloves and season with salt, and continue to cook until the onions and garlic are soft and translucent. If the pot begins to brown too much on the bottom as they cook, add another pat of butter or pour of olive oil.

3. Add the celery root, apple, and stock. (Or use all water.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a strong simmer. Cook, with the lid to the pot ajar on top, until the celery root pieces are soft and easily pierced with a paring knife, 30-45 minutes.

4. While the celery root is cooking, cut the bacon into small pieces and brown in a skillet.  Set aside and try not to nibble.

5. Add pepper then purée using an immersion blender, or let the soup cool to room temperature and whiz in a blender until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. If the soup is too thick, it can be thinned with water or stock.  I used a spot of cream in mine.

6. Reheat soup, top some bacon bits (optional but HIGHLY recommended!), and serve with a crusty bread.  Some chives would be great if you had them.

Ingredient break-down...


  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

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