Did you say, celery root soup?November 3, 2006
Who doesn’t like a hearty soup on a cold, fall evening? Pair it with grilled cheese, and you have yourself a tasty and cozy meal in no time.
I really liked this soup, despite having basically no idea what I was eating. If asked, I would have said, “Possibly, baked potato soup.” (Which goes to show I’ll put a fork or spoon in pretty much anything you plop down in front of me, even with no knowledge of ingredients.) Actually, the soup was much more exotic than mere potato stew; those little chunks of starch-like vegetable weren’t spuds, they were celery root. I was probably fooled by their texture (and the delicious hunks of bacon swimming in my bowl).
Celery root soup… baked potato soup… whatever it was, it was good. Enjoy it with a grilled cheese sandwich. I did!
In my effort to push myself to become a better cook and to find new ingredients to learn about and work with, I am reminded sometimes to keep the preparation simple. This is what happened here with the celery root soup.
Celery root, aka celeriac, is a root vegetable with that same potency of celery. From what I could find while doing research, it apparently is related to wild celery, whose leaves and stems are bitter and relatively inedible. It is also popular in French cooking and is in season this time of year.
It’s one of those ingredients that I have been staring at in the grocery for weeks, trying to think what I would do with it if I bought it. It is mystifying because it so odd looking. When I first saw it, it struck me as a dirty, hairy beet. Once I decided to go from browser to buyer, I eventually settled on a very simple soup to try and bring out the essence of the root. I think what was created was tasty, quick and simple; it seems perfect for a lazy day with a grilled cheese. I hope you enjoy it.
Celery Root Soup
1 celery root ( diced)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 large carrot (sliced)
1 slice thick cut bacon (diced) (can be replaced with lardon or 2 slices of thin)
3 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. nutmeg
1. Heat the bacon in a large pot over medium high heat; allow it to begin to render its fat.
2. Once the bacon has given off some of its fat, add the celery root, onion and carrot. Lightly salt the vegetables. You don’t want to be too generous with the salt as the bacon already will add some.
3. Once the vegetables have begun to soften and the bacon is brown, deglaze the bottom of the pan by adding a cup of the stock at time. Scrape the bottom with a wooden/silicon spoon to get up the little caramelized bits sticking to the pot.
4. Add cream, thyme, worcestershire sauce and nutmeg.
(NOTE: I just add the sprigs of thyme directly because I’m usually just cooking for us — and if you get a twig, no big deal. However, you can make a bouquet garni and tie them together with a piece of butcher’s twine. It should be easy to fish out.)
5. Bring the soup to a boil, turn down the heat to simmer and let cook for at least 20 min. Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!
(NOTE: If you want to make this a vegatarian option, you can remove the bacon and replace with olive oil. I would up the salt to compensate for it being lost there. But seems to me a very simple swap.)