As I mentioned in my last post, after packing up my cookbooks on Monday I was in need of some comfort food. To complement the crescent rolls I was making, I wanted a soothing, yet hearty soup. This time instead of turning to a recipe, I decided to develop my own.
Once you’ve mastered the basic techniques of various types of soup, it’s easy to apply those principles to creating new versions. I had a celery root on hand, and got to thinking about the celery root and potato mash I make from time to time. I decided to translate that into a faux cream soup.
I was looking for smooth texture, and mellow, delicate flavour. Richness, without heaviness. The soup delivered on all counts. It had a pleasant, light celery-ness enhanced by the celery seed. The restrained use of the dried chopped sage added lovely fragrance and a light herby flavour element that made me think of Thanksgiving. The texture was wonderfully creamy, but I had the satisfaction of knowing it’s actually a light and healthy dish.
Not only did we enjoy the hot soup with the warm rolls, but I have 2 containers in the freezer to reheat the next time I need a bowlful of comfort. I encourage you to try this soup, or better yet, to create one of your own and share it.
Celery Root and Potato Soup
This recipe makes about 8 cups of soup. Enough to enjoy today, to save some for another day and still have more to share.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 large Yukon gold potatoes
- 1 large celery root
- 1 carton (946 ml) low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste (that’s lots for me!)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)
Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot over low heat. Chop the onion and garlic, and add to the pot along with a grinding of fresh pepper. Keep the heat low so the aromatics sweat and become translucent, but don’t let them brown.
Peel the potatoes and chop into roughly 1/2 inch dice. Peel the celery root (I cut off the top and bottom, then set it on the chopping board and sliced the peel from top to bottom, working my way around the vegetable). Chop the root into pieces roughly the same size as the potato.
Add the potato and celery root to the pot, stirring to coat them with the oil. I add more pepper as I go, then the chicken broth.
Add the celery seeds, rubbing them between your palms to release the flavour and fragrance (the kitchen as spa), then add the chopped sage and the salt. Next (okay, you know what’s coming) add some more freshly ground pepper, keeping in mind that the goal here is to create a flavourful but not spicy soup. (Yes, even I can be restrained with pepper when required, although it goes against the grain!) Toss in the bay leaf.
Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and leave for 30 minutes or so.
Remove the bay leaf, and puree the soup thoroughly with an immersion blender (no fussing about with transferring the liquid in batches to a conventional blender). Once there are no lumps remaining, add the milk. I started with one cup, then added another half cup to achieve the texture I was looking for … substance without being too thick. This is really a matter of preference, you may prefer yours thicker or thinner.
Once the milk has been stirred into the soup, it’s ready to serve. The fragrance is light and fresh, and the flavour complements it, creating a calming and comforting bowl of goodness. I hope you are as pleased with the result as I was. Enjoy!