Soup has a universal appeal. Every single culture has a recipe. Making and eating soups evokes a sense of well-being. Cultural anthropologists believe that soup has been cooked in China since 20 000 BCE, based on scorched and scratched pottery that has been excavated there. In the 15th century, European soup dishes known as potages became a staple of peasants’ diets. Boiling water killed any bacteria, preserved nutrients, and made food easier to chew. Soup also came to be known as the meal that promotes healing. And it is not just the proverbial chicken soup. Soups keep us warm and hydrated.
Soups are quick to make, filling, and economical. Traditionally lunches and dinners began with soups. It is still the case in Europe, but long menus/courses were abbreviated to “soup and salad” in the US, or soups were skipped altogether.
There is another reason why soups taste the best on a cold winter day; scientists believe that in times of emotional stress, warm soup can evoke a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Celeriac makes for a very flavorful and easy soup with few other ingredients.
Celeriac, also known as a celery root, is my winter favorite and the foundation of all soups of Central Europe, together with carrots and parsley root (not to be confused with parsnip). Celeriac is a potato-like, large, knobby bulb with a rich, earthy flavor and is a descendant of wild celery, which dates to ancient Egypt, where it was used as a medicinal plant.
This soup recipe has more body because celery and potatoes act as a natural thickener. You can use homemade stock, or using a store-bought version works as well. I usually make my broth in large batches and freeze it. You can see my broth-making process here. Celeriac is made into a tasty “vegetable steak” by placing slices in a heavy pan and pressing down to ensure an even sear on both sides. Another delicious and easy celeriac recipe is here.
Celery Root and Potato Puree
Celery Root/Celeriac Soup
- 2 small Leeks [or 1 large leek] (light green part only, soaked, cleaned, and coarsely chopped)
- 1-2 medium Celery roots
- 1-2 large Potatoes (peeled and diced)
- 6 c Chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water)
- 2 Tbsp Butter (unsalted)
- 1 drop Truffle oil
- Parmigiana cheese (grated)
- Leeks are another delicious yet underappreciated vegetable. They are tricky to clean because sand gets trapped in their many layers. Learn how to clean them and use them in other recipes here.
- Under running water, scrub the root well with a stiff brush. Using a small, sharp knife, remove the outside skin layer, including deep grooves, and cut the root into chunks.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until soft to give your soup greater depth. Add the celery root and potatoes and cook another 10 minutes. Add the stock (or water) and bring to a simmer and cook covered until the vegetable is very soft.
- I am using an Instant Pot for this recipe.
- When the vegetables are soft, remove them from the heat and let the soup cool to avoid getting burned. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or use a stick blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add the truffle oil, if desired. Garnish with grated parmigiana cheese.
- Blend the soup until smooth and salt to taste.
- To serve, ladle warm soup into bowls and garnish with truffle oil, finely grated parmigiana, and chives. Enjoy!
Community Services Librarian
Kansas City, Kansas Public Library
625 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
913-295-8250 ext 1103
Vegetables illustrated: an inspiring guide with 700+ kitchen-tested recipes by America’s Test Kitchen
Call Number: 641.65 AMERICA
V is for vegetables: inspired recipes & techniques for home cooks from artichokes to zucchini by Michael Anthony, Dorothy Kalins and Maura McEvoy
Call Number: 641.65 ANTHONY
The everyday gourmet. [videorecording] by William M. Briwa and The Culinary Institute of America
Format: Video disc
Call Number: 641.65 BRIWA
Soups: over 100 internationally inspired soups and stews by Derek Bissonnette
Call Number: 641.813 BISSONNE
Healing herbal soups: boost your immunity and weather the seasons with traditional Chinese recipes by Rose Cheung and Genevieve Wong
Call Number: 641.813 CHEUNG