Tuesday, November 17, 2009

celeriac soup

Celeriac is so ugly. It is warty and rough. It looks like a large turnip with a serious disease.

But it's flavor is so delicate and refined, that it actually feels beautiful in my mouth. It feels earthy and designer and French.
It will never look as beautiful as it tastes, not whole at least, but there is something so sexy about all that loveliness under the cover of ugly.
There was a little French sandwich shop in Santa Fe that used to serve celeriac cut into julienne with some apple and dressing. It was so fancy. They called it celery root.
Celeriac, or celery root, is not, as some think, the root of your every day celery. It is its own vegetable, a root vegetable only, a cousin to our beloved celery.
It can be eaten raw or sliced thin into a gratin, it can be cubed in a soup or roasted with other fall roots. Or it can, and it should, be blended with milk and cream and served for your supper.

Celeriac Soup

3/4 pounds of potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 medium celeriac roots (about 2 pounds), peeled with a knife and cut into chunks
3 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, washed, white parts cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 cup milk
1/3 cup heavy cream

Combine the celeriac, potatoes, chicken broth and bay leaf in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a sautee pan or skillet. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until shiny. Add the celery and leek, and cook, stirring for another three minutes. Add the garlic and salt and cook for a minute more. Add the onion mixture (let's call it the soffritto) to the soup pot. Cook for an additional 10 minutes at a low heat, covered. Remove the bay leaf.
Blend with an immersion blender or if you don't have one, put the soup in batches into a blender or food processor.
At this point, if you have more soup than you want around for the next few days, freeze some of the puree. You can defrost it and add the milk on some lucky night when you can't decide what to cook.
Add the milk and cream. Make sure that it is warmed through, and test for seasoning. Add more salt if needed, and lots of freshly ground pepper.


  1. Alana
    missed you at the parent social last night at moe's. i have a nice memory of talking with you there last time, but no worries, todd and i held it down.
    MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY i did not know you were such a total blog rock star! we were talking about you on the way to the bar and he was like, oh, her cooking blog, blah blah blah, and i was like, what cooking blog?

    so i ended up reading this last night till like 1 AM and thought, i could call you (not at 1 AM) or e-mail, but you said you like comments, so here you are.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the blog. i don't even think i knew you were such a big time kick ass cook!

    your pictures are so good i sent the link to my sister just so she can see your photos, and i love the music playlists ... can't wait to talk cooking with you. great work. just bookmarked ya for regular reading.

  2. I've become obsessed with celery root! In Turkey, we don't find what I call celery so I thought I was settling for something when I bought that big ugly ball and salvaged a few little stalks on top to beef up my chicken broth. Then a Turkish friend came over and whipped up something quite amazing. . .she grated it and mixed it with whole milk yogurt, then threw in some roughly chopped walnuts and Presto! Bob is your very delicious uncle. It's cool, crunchy, refreshing and totally addictive. I think I've made it 10 times in the last month.

  3. Thanks Marc! My blogger self is a bit in the closet, but I'm coming out, slowly!

    and yes, Molly, I think that you've given me the next celeriac recipe- sounds luscious...