Soup season continues today with an elegant, satisfying gourmet-style soup. Bonus: it’s very simple and uses only a small number of ingredients.
Until I made this soup I’d never cooked with celery root before. I’d seen it at Whole Foods and other fancier grocery stores, but I had no idea what to do with it. Celery root definitely looks a bit imposing in its wabi sabi earthiness.
I’m always game to try something new though, and this soup, from The Conscious Cook by chef Tal Ronnen, paid off handsomely. I’ve made this soup for a number of holiday dinners and it’s always a hit. The Granny Smith apples add a tart, crunchy surprise to the earthy creaminess of the soup.
The only tricky aspect of this recipe is to remember to soak the cashews overnight before you make the soup. Peeling the celery root might look a bit intimidating, but it’s really not difficult. The outer layer comes off easily.
The chive oil is a very nice touch, and adds an extra layer of flavor to the soup. When I make this for company, I put the oil in a squeeze bottle and let my guests create their own designs. You can see one idea here.
I confess that this time I forgot to buy chives. I rarely need to buy them because I have a huge plant in my back yard. But by the time I gathered all the other ingredients for the soup, I realized that what was left of my chives was covered with crusty snow. My partner had no luck finding them at two different stores. The soup was still wonderful, but I did miss the extra onion flavor. So don’t skip this step! You can use the chive oil to garnish other soups, stews and bakes later on because you will have some left over.
Meatless Monday: Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples
Makes about 2 1/4 cups thick cream or 3 1/2 cups regular cream
Prep time: 10 minutes, plus soaking overnight
- 2 cups whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water
1. Put the cashews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2. Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place them in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. (If you’re not using a professional high-speed blender such as a Vitamix, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)
3. To make thick cashew cream, simply reduce the amount of water when they are placed in the blender, so that the water just slightly covers the cashews.
Celery Root Soup
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium celery roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 quarts faux chicken or vegetable stock (try Better Than Bouillon brand)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup thick Cashew Cream
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, very finely diced
- Chive Oil (recipe follows)
1. Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.
2. Add the celery root, celery, and onion and sauté for 6 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until soft but not brown. Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the Cashew Cream and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Place a spoonful of the diced apple in the center of each serving, drizzle the Chive Oil around the apple, and serve.
Makes ½ cup
- 1 small bunch chives
- ½ cup canola oil
- Pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blanch the chives for 30 seconds in boiling water, then drain and chill in an ice bath. Drain, wrap the chives in a towel, and squeeze the moisture out. Place in a blender with the remaining ingredients and blend for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Put the chive oil in a plastic squeeze bottle with a small opening or use a spoon for drizzling it on the soup.