Case in point: I had never had celery root before. And really, why would I? Who wants to eat something with the word root in it's name? When I went to buy it to make this soup I had to ask for help because I didn't know what it looked like - and when I saw it I had serious second thoughts!
Now celery root is my newest love - it surprised me with it's potato-like texture yet bright green celery taste...I found it to be totally refreshing!
I'm sure you're thinking someone else is writing this because when's the last time I waxed on about a vegetable...never...but it's me, and I'm not ashamed to say I'm addicted to Celery Root...a vegetable. Lest you think I've gone to the dark side (no sugar/no fat/no fun) let me assure you I'm not crazy, haven't fallen off my rocker and I'm no longer delirious with pain from the burn I got from making this dang fine soup. I've got half my wits about me, and am completely aware of my admission and how some people will view it with skepticism...they who have not yet tasted the sweetness of celery root cannot be blamed for their ignorance any more than I could be blamed for mine...after all, we only know what we know! Oh thanks for asking, my burn is much better...I'm no longer planning my funeral. No doubt it will leave a nice scar, a constant reminder of this soup..I'm currently accepting sympathy chocolate which will help alleviate the pain in my wrist.
So this is celery root...not much to look at, is it? Once the dirt is washed off and the bulb is peeled, the hard, white root is ready to slice or dice.
This recipe comes from my new favorite cookbook, Bountiful - Recipes Inspired by our Garden, by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I love this book for the recipes, which are inventive and fresh and for the amazing pictures, which make me want to make their dishes! Todd and Diane are the brains behind one of the most interesting blogs in all of blogdom, White on Rice Couple. Their photography/food/travel blog daily serves up something eye-catching or mouth-watering - if you haven't paid them a visit before, do so now by clicking here. (If you've got a foodie in your life, this book would make an excellent Christmas present for them!) Celery Root Soup is just one of their recipes that jumped off the page at me - the picture begged me to make it! I've made this soup every week for the last three weeks...the first time I made it I followed Todd and Diane's directions to the letter - and the soup was fabulous...brothy comfort in a bowl.
The second time I made this soup, for my book group, I added in a bit of cream at the end - see, it IS me writing this! And while the cream didn't change the soup dramatically, it did add some richness...my apologies to Todd and Diane who eat much more "cleanly" than I ever will!
The third time I made this soup, for my quilt group, I blended half of the soup with my immersion blender, added in a bit more cream, and called it perfect. Then I burned my hand, thereby searing this soup into my memory/wrist for life. Celery Root soup will be the starter for our Thanksgiving feast - it made the grade because it starts with bacon (cue the choir!) and along with sauteed onions and garlic, there's fresh ginger and sage (and the fat lady sings!) (Again, my apologies to Todd and Diane!)
Make this one kids - it's a keeper!
Celery Root Soup - Inspired by Bountiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu
2 medium celery roots (make sure they are firm, not soft)
1 lb. center-cut bacon, sliced into small pieces (center cut tends to have less fat)
1 medium onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece (2-inch) fresh ginger, peeled and crushed whole
2 to 3 sage leaves, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup heavy cream
sea salt and black pepper to taste
Peel celery root, removing all of the dark "rooty" bits and cut into bite-size pieces. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add the bacon, and cook until the fat is rendered. Add the onion, garlic, ginger and sage leaves. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add chicken stock and lentils to the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until lentils are softened, about 30 minutes. Add in the celery root, and continue to cook until it is fork tender, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in cream*, cook until heated through but do not allow to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 6.
*After adding the cream you can either serve it like it is or blend half of it with an immersion (or regular blender, done in small batches so you won't get burned!) which will make the soup a bit thicker and creamier. I would only blend half of the soup because I think having the little bites of celery root is too delicious to miss!
This year the boy and DIL will be joining us, along with eleven others...it's going to be SO fun! I love having a crowd for Thanksgiving! I've been counting my blessings - I've much to be thankful for. I have a great family, great friends, a roof over my head and enough food to keep Spanks in business for another year. And I've got great readers - those of you who put up with this drivel and come back for more - I'm truly thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!