Marks Daily Apple
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23 Oct

Silky Celery Root Soup

Beauty isn’t everything and celery root is living proof. There is nothing about its knobby, gnarled, beige appearance that would entice you to put it in your shopping cart. You’ve probably passed by it a hundred times nestled between the turnips and rutabagas, not even realizing what an amazing root vegetable you’re passing over.

The flavor of celery root strongly resembles celery but there is also something potato-like about it both taste and texture. It is often eaten as a salad, grated then left raw or quickly blanched and mixed with mayonnaises, lemon and mustard. This time of year we prefer to cook celery root a little longer before serving. Peeled and cut into pieces, this vegetable can be braised, boiled, baked or sautéed. If you’re tired of using cauliflower as a mashed potato stand-in, give mashed celery root a try.  Even better, gently simmer celery root then puree it into a silky, creamy soup.

Silky Celery Root Soup is an incredibly easy recipe that can be doctored up into something a little fancier when you’re in the mood. The basic soup is simply shallots (or leeks) and regular celery sautéed in butter then simmered in water with celery root for about 35 minutes. Puree the soup, then add whole cream (or coconut milk) to make the texture even silkier than it already is. Salt, pepper, add some chopped parsley, and you’re done.

Once you have this base, which is delicious as-is, the variations are endless. Add a little meat to the equation by frying bacon or pancetta in the pan with the shallot, or sprinkle crumbled bacon on top of the soup as a garnish when it’s done. Sauté mushrooms or spinach to add to the pot. Maybe grate a little Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on top or melt butter until it’s browned and has a sweet, nutty aroma then drizzle it into your bowl.

You can also make the soup with stock instead of water, but water actually works quite well and lets the delicate flavor of the celery root shine through. It is this delicate flavor and the naturally creamy texture of pureed celery root that makes it so incredibly soothing and so perfect when the weather turns cold. Adding pureed celery root to other types of soup is a great way to make soup thick and creamy, without adding dairy or potato.

So next time you see this ugly but quite tasty vegetable at the store, go ahead and bring one home. It’s sometimes called celeriac, instead of celery root, and will most likely be displayed by the other root vegetables, not the celery. Celery root is a vegetable all it’s own; it’s not actually the root of regular celery. The best way to attack celery root is with a paring knife, first cutting off the gnarled roots then trimming off the skin. From there, who knows where this humble yet incredibly versatile root will lead you.

Ingredients:

Makes approximately four servings.

  • 1/4 – 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (or 1 leek, sliced)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 pounds celery root, (about two large roots) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 8 cups water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:
Over medium low heat, melt the butter in a deep pan. Add celery and shallot/leek and sauté until soft but not overly browned, about five minutes. Add celery root and sauté a few minutes more, then add 6 cups of water and turn up heat slightly. Bring to a boil then turn the heat lower and simmer with a lid on for 35-40 minutes until the celery root is easily pierced with a fork.

Working in small batches (to reduce the odds of splattering hot liquid on yourself and all over your kitchen) puree the soup in a blender until very smooth. If you prefer soup with more texture, only puree half of the celery root and leave the rest in chunks. Return the blended soup to the pot and slowly stir in cream or coconut milk. Use the remaining 2 cups of water to thin out the soup to your desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley.


You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. Celery root, it’s now on my grocery list.

    Sharon wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  2. Looks like a great Autumn comfort food. We’ll try this one out in the weeks to come. Thanks for the recipe!

    The Primal Palette wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  3. they dont sell those here :(

    Mallory wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  4. When I saw the pictures I thought it was potato soup and was a bit confused. Primal blog? LOL.

    Meagan wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  5. That looks absolutely fantastic–I’m gonna get the ingredients and try it tonight or tomorrow!

    JamesP wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  6. Great timing. I’ve got Celeriac sitting on my counter at home. Gunna make it now!

    Michael wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  7. This would be great with Stilton cheese as well!

    Shebeeste wrote on October 23rd, 2010
    • oh, I thought I was salivating before. but with Stilton? *shudder of pleasure* oh my…

      Peggy wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  8. OH MY! It really looks like the Shrek of vegetables and celeriac is so close to celiac! It looks yummy though in soup form :)

    PrimalStyle wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  9. Would this be peeled beforehand? Or just washed well?

    Brenna wrote on October 23rd, 2010
  10. This is the third interesting celery root recipe I have read this week. It is time to give it a try.

    I will definitely be tring it out! I wonder if it will work for Colombian Ajiaco, a chicken and potato soup with capers, avocado and cream…report to follow.

    AdrianaG wrote on October 24th, 2010
  11. Just made some celeriac soup last week! I didnt even sautee!!

    Sarena wrote on October 24th, 2010
  12. I have made this and it is delicious, even without adding anything else to it!

    JamesP wrote on October 24th, 2010
  13. Nice!

    Generally soups with root croops are 3x super! (super easy to make, super cheap, and tastes super)

    Try for example to exchange the celeriac for carrots and thyme,

    Or my favorite: Beetroot soup with fishsause and giger – topped with smalle pices of beef sauted with sesame seeds…. UHMMMMM

    A small hint regarding sauteeing the ingredients before boiling: Its what creates the structure in the taste and brings put the sweet flavors.

    Frank wrote on October 24th, 2010
  14. It looks ok but I am not sure if I can eat that…

    Noella wrote on October 25th, 2010
    • Do you find it distasteful because it is oh, so white? Add some chicken bouillon or saffron or a golden beet to make it yellower.

      Adriana G wrote on October 25th, 2010
      • or turmeric.

        Stancel wrote on October 25th, 2010
        • Or paprika.
          Or Louisiana Hot Sauce.
          Or cheddar cheese.
          Or all of the above!

          Adriana G wrote on October 25th, 2010
  15. OK I have gone out and bought both celery root and turnips. Which will give me the closest to potato soup?

    Adriana G wrote on October 25th, 2010
  16. Just made it for dinner.

    Turned out a little thin, but it was still quite delicious.

    I think frying a slice or two of bacon in the pot in lieu of the butter might be called for next time.

    Craig wrote on October 25th, 2010
  17. So did I only i used chicken stock, added chichen thighs and served it with avocado, sour cream and capers. It was fabulous. If somebody will tell me how to post a picture, it will make you drool.

    AdrianaG wrote on October 25th, 2010
  18. Finally some celeriac love! I was just touting its awesomeness in the (LOTR) potato post. Seriously, gotta try celery root hash browns cooked in bacon fat.

    Zac wrote on October 26th, 2010
  19. I definitely want to try the hash browns. My first attempt at pseudo hashbrowns was with daikon radish and they went over like a lead balloon. Really fooled them for a minute, though!

    Adriana G wrote on October 26th, 2010
  20. I pre-grate a whole root and it produces enough to last me a couple days. I add a little onion to some bacon grease then throw the celeriac on top. I let it brown on one side and flip the whole pile over to brown the opposite then scatter it up. So yummy. I originally got the idea here, sadly a now inactive paleo blog it appears (WFS):

    http://stevepaleo.blogspot.com/2009/03/u-cant-believe-it-hash-browns-eggs.html

    Zac wrote on October 27th, 2010
  21. I made this wonderful soup and it turned out fantastic. I have discovered that it makes a great base for adding other things. Last night I tossed in some chicken chunks, a bit of leftover brown rice and a bit of leftover cooked chard. Yum! Tonight I’m going to put in some leftover creamed corn that I made from my neighbor’s fresh corn and maybe some lightly steamed carrot pieces. I also used coconut milk in the recipe. I will definitely make this again!

    Ann Waugh wrote on October 28th, 2010
  22. I can’t see my last comment, is there a mistake?

    Francesca wrote on October 30th, 2010
  23. FINALLY, I got to make this… appearantly they don’t sell celery root here, so had to get some in “the city”. It was a little spendy (plus SO was shopping) so I ended up with only one. I filled out the soup with 2 parsnips & a turnip. I used a leek instead of shallots. oh my… this was better than any potato leek soup I’ve made or had. truly. I just read a recipe the other day also for celery root pancakes (similar to german potato pancakes). with sour cream & applesauce? I think I’m going to have to back to Denver & load up on roots…

    Peggy wrote on November 1st, 2010
    • Oh, thanks for the idea about using parsnips & a turnip. I imagine the parsnips made it sweeter and creamier; yes, and cheaper too. I might try to find out if I can grow celeriac here.

      Ann Waugh wrote on November 1st, 2010
  24. Well I made this soup the other night for dinner with some crumbled bacon thrown on top, oh man was it a wonderful treat. Soup and salad was all we needed, even my teenage daughter liked it! This recipe is going into the recipe binder on the shelf with the other cookbooks.

    Doug lidz wrote on November 5th, 2010
  25. Made this twice now. Totally obsessed with the potato-like texture and the delicate celery flavor. Awesome. Made a super huge batch today to last all week. YUM!!!

    Lizzy wrote on November 29th, 2010
  26. Celeriac is great. One of the essential ingredients of chicken broth here.

    Janik wrote on December 23rd, 2010
  27. I tried this soup and it was absolutely fantastic (the only way I’ll eat celery root!), so I included it in my “Food Allergy Friendly and Clean Eating” Thanksgiving recipe round-up this year. I hope others like it too (I have no doubts):

    http://infectiousoptimism.blogspot.com/2013/11/2013-food-allergy-friendly-and-clean.html

    Thank you for sharing your concoctions!

    Candice wrote on November 14th, 2013

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