This soup stood out from a myriad of soup recipes that I began considering with some regularity as fall closed in on me this year. The recipe is via Mark Bittman of the New York Times--his recipes often tickle my fancy and this one turned out as well as I imagined it would. The flavor of celery root is like fresh celery, but not quite. I like it better, myself, but I am also a fan of starches (yum).
Now, prepping the celery root to make this soup with was kind of a hassle. The roots are gnarled and alien-looking. Peeling away the tough exterior was accomplished slowly, with the aid of a knife, then a (sturdy) vegetable peeler. Eventually, you end up with the naked celery root, and the remainder of the recipe is a piece of cake.
Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup
Yield 4 servings
Time 45 minutes
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and black pepper
1 1/2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
1/2 to 1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
In a medium to large pot, melt the butter on medium high heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook until they begin to soften, then add curry powder, cumin, and salt & pepper. I used yellow curry paste, rather than curry powder, and used 1 & 1/2 tbsp as well--it worked quite nicely. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about a minute.
Stir in your celery root chunks to coat them in spices, add stock, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and allow to cook until celery root becomes soft (15-20 minutes).
Finally, allow the mixture to cool slightly, and blend until smooth, then add milk, cream, soymilk, or half & half and reheat if necessary before serving. I would recommend straining the soup once before serving, as there were a couple of fibrous bits in my finished product from the celery root. It didn't ruin it, but they were incongruous with the otherwise smooth & creamy soup.
I was so ravenous by the time my soup was done that I had already finished it--but you can see from this photo that the color is pretty blah. If I had brighter dishes, it wouldn't look as bland, I think. It definitely benefits from the pop of color that a little garnish gives it.
Also, The curry flavor becomes more pronounced overnight! It was even better the second day for lunch.