You’ve probably walked right by it. If you did notice it, you probably stopped and gawked. Celery root won’t win any awards for its appearance: awkward green stalks sprout from a gnarly tuber complete with twisted roots. It’s quite a vegetable, but no matter your first impression it is worth a second look.
My first experience with celery root was adding it to mashed potatoes. I’ve always found mashed potatoes to be a bit too heavy for my tastes, but adding a little celery root changes everything. Despite its imposing mien, celery root’s flavor is surprisingly mild. As the name would suggest, it tastes of celery but it has a creamy texture similar to potatoes.
Since discovering celery root’s affinity to potatoes, I team these two root vegetables up frequently in my kitchen. Last year, I made a celery root and potato gratin with gruyere cheese for Thanksgiving and this year with the arrival of cooler temperatures, this soup.
Celery root is decidedly the star of this soup although a Yukon gold potato boosts the creaminess factor. If you aren’t a huge fan of celery, don’t rule this recipe out. Celery root is grown specifically for its root and is not the same plant as the ubiquitous celery you find at your grocery store. It still has the flavor of celery, but is much more nuanced especially after being cooked.
Blending the soup yields a rustic soup that is lovely paired with a slice of country bread. Sending the soup through a chinois mousseline or fine mesh strainer amps up the creaminess factor and elevates this humble soup to an elegant first course for your holiday table. If really looking to put on the ritz, sprinkle with truffle salt or drizzle with a little truffle oil before serving. It tastes as good as it sounds. Happy cooking!
Cream of Celery Root Soup
This simple soup is one that you’ll want to make again and again this fall and winter. If looking to treat yourself, sprinkle truffle-infused salt over the soup before serving or drizzle with a little truffle oil. Yum!
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, white and light green part thinly sliced and then rinsed
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lb prepared (trimmed and peeled) celery root, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 cups homemade or less-sodium store bought chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Melt the butter in a medium pot. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the celery root, potato, and bay leaf and stir to combine.
Add the chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the celery root and potato are tender.
Remove the bay leaf and discard. Puree the soup in batches in a blender or puree in the pot using a hand-blender. For an extra creamy soup, strain the pureed soup through a chinois mousse line or fine mesh strainer.
Return the soup to the stovetop and stir in the heavy cream. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat soup until hot, but not boiling. Enjoy!