Some thoughts on celeriac and soup

I love celeriac and soup, so a combination of these two things makes me very happy. I am going to share my recipe for a chunky vegetable soup with a celeriac base. This is the first of a series of recipes I am going to write – intending to revive and inspire the use of this vegetable. It is such a great ingredient – it has a stronger flavour than celery without the stringy-ness some people hate. It gives a velvety texture which is quite similar to potato (but is much lower in starch) and is in short a perfect soup ingredient. It is a vegetable which is sadly overlooked. I have often found that people don’t know what to do with it, or even what it is. It does look quite strange – the white old man of root vegetables. Its appearance is also slightly reminiscent of the ‘root baby’ in Pan’s Labyrinth  – for those of you I have already lost along the wayside, I have included a picture comparison below.

Leeks, celeriac and carrots - all waiting impatiently to get into my soup.

Leeks, celeriac and carrots – all waiting impatiently to get into my soup.

Celeriac relative in the bowl?

Celeriac relative in the bowl?

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium celeriac
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 leeks
  • 2 onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1800ml stock
  • 1 generous glug of olive oil

Use the celeriac as a base and then vary the other ingredients according to what you have in the house. A soup is the perfect way to use up tired vegetables and prevent them from going to waste.

Method:

Dice the onions and mince the garlic and gently cook on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes,  stirring regularly until they are translucent, but not coloured.  Meanwhile peel and cube the celeriac and chop the other vegetables. Add everything to the pot and allow to sweat on a low – medium heat for a further 5-10 minutes. (A low heat preserves the vitamin content and flavour) Then add the stock and cook for an hour minimum – long slow cook is better. I like to half-blend this soup. By this I mean when it is cooked I take out half the soup put it in a food processor (or a magi-mix and a big bowl works well) and then put the blended half back with the rest and cook for a further 5 minutes. The result of this is a chunky soup with a smooth base, avoiding the reminder of baby food which a completely processed soup sometimes gives.