I find that whenever I purchase celery root at the local grocery store, the clerks always give me a funny look.
“What is this?,” they ask, with incredulous looks on their faces. I explain to them at it’s a celery root – you know, the root of the celery plant – and they still don’t quite get it. “Celery root…” they repeat back to me as they frantically flip through their binder to find the appropriate produce code, “what on earth do you DO with it?!“
I’m not kidding you, I have this conversation 9 times out of 10 when I buy celery root.
It seems that celery root isn’t nearly as popular as the crunchy green stalks that grow from it. It would seem that I am in the minority, because I much prefer celery root. Here’s how I think of it: if celery stalks and potatoes got married and had a superchild, it would be celery root. It has all the starchy wonderfulness of a potato, with just a kick of crisp green celery flavor. It’s darn near perfect.
This soup shows off all the wonders of the celery root: it’s smooth, creamy, and comforting. And then when you add the caramelized apples on top, the whole thing just tastes like Thanksgiving. And that, my friends, is never a bad thing.
- 2 small celery roots, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 leeks, washed and sliced into thin rings (white and light green parts only)
- 1-2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons butter (1 for the soup, 1 for the caramelized apples)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add in the leeks and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add in the garlic and celery and stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Add in the cubed celery root and stir to coat. Add a bit more butter if necessary and cook for 2 minutes. Next, pour in the chicken (or vegetable) stock. Add in the bay leaves, thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer until celery root is tender (about 30 minutes).
- Remove the soup from the heat. Using an immersion blender (or a food processor), purée the soup until smooth and creamy. Return the pot to the stove and stir in the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. (If you would like to thin out the soup at this point, you can add in more half and half or a bit more stock). Taste, and adjust seasonings if needed.
- To caramelize the apples, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a skillet over med-high heat until it foams. Add the apples and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the apples with brown sugar and stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to brown and caramelize. Remove from heat and set aside until use. (Optional: I added some freshly ground black pepper to my caramelized apples and it was great.)
- When you’re ready to eat the soup, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with caramelized apples. Enjoy!
Adapted from Letite’s Culinaria