I love celery root! As the name suggests, it does have a refreshing celery kick, which makes it a terrific ingredient when making rich soups like this one. I’ll be honest and say that I think celery root is one of the ugliest vegetables I have ever seen. If it were in high school it would be the geek that everyone throws slushies at (sorry, Glee reference!). However, like most appearance-labeled nerds, this veggie has a heart of gold. Once you peel through the knotted exterior there is a crisp center that is absolutely to die for. Whether you are adding it to a roast, making a mash, or simmering a soup, it adds a little something-something that will have new cooks feeling like pros!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
-1 medium sized celery root (celeriac), exterior cut off and flesh chopped
-1 leek, white and light green portion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise into half moons (discard dark green and root)
-1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
-1 teaspoon dried tarragon
-1 bay leaf
-pinch crushed red chili flakes
-1/2 cup half and half
-1 ounce brandy (optional)
-salt and pepper
-4 slices Focaccia
-Fleur de Sel
-extra virgin olive oil
1. In a large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the sliced leeks and stir until slightly softened. Add the celeriac and stir for 4 minutes.
2. Add the garlic clove and stir for 1 minute. Add the tarragon, bay leaf and chili flakes and stir for another minute.
3. Add enough water to just cover the celeriac. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer until the celeriac is fork tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Purée the soup using an immersion blender or let it cool and working in batches purée it in a blender or food processor.
5. Return the soup to the pot if necessary. Stir in the half and half and brandy. Taste the adjust the salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf.
6. Bring the soup back to a simmer and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
7. If you can to make the garnish. Preheat the broiler to high. Arrange the focaccia on a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil the focaccia on both sides until just golden, less than 1 minute per side.
8. Remove the focaccia and drizzle with good quality olive oil. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
9. Divide the soup between bowls and top with a drizzle from the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and little freshly ground black pepper. Serve with focaccia.
Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.