Monday, November 8, 2010

Creamy Celeriac Soup

Here in Paderborn, today's maximum temperature is only 5 degrees. Needless to say, I find that a little depressing, so my reaction is to reach for something warm. While I know I've complained in past about the quality of certain fruit and vegetables here, there are also some things that grow very nicely indeed. Two such vegetables are celeriac and potatoes.

Because a little celeriac goes a long way, I tend to buy mine in halves from the Markt. Half a celeriac was enough to make me a big bowl of creamy soup, which was absolutely perfect for today's lunch, after my long and windy walk home from the Technology Park. Paired with a large potato and a few cloves of garlic, it was exactly what I needed. Some days, you just need soup.

I make my own stock whenever I'm making soup, generally using whatever scraps I have on hand. I was baking some muscatkurbis (Nutmeg pumpkin? It doesn't translate well - I think they can be called "Fairytale Pumpkin" in the USA) at the same time, so in went the peel, along with the scrawny celery stems and the peelings of my fresh garlic. This stock is for a blended soup and not a consumme, so it doesn't matter if it's cloudy, therefore scraps from vegetables that break down easily are always welcome. If you're making a clear soup, however, don't use pumpkin or potato peelings in your stock. I also recommend keeping a bag of stock-scraps in your freezer, for ready access.

This soup is incredibly easy. Some garlic, cubed celeriac and potato get sauteed in olive oil, stirring constantly, until little crusty sections form on the edges of the vegetables. These are the best part - they give that extra kick of toasty flavour to the soup that you'd never obtain, were you simply boiling your vegetables. And I'm sure you all know by now how I feel about the idea of boiled vegetables! I like to make a similar soup with carrot, celeriac and ginger, but I felt like something a little softer and milder today. However, I'll still recommend the other combination to anyone who asks, and right about now, I'm recommending it to readers who didn't ask at all. What can I say, I'm generous with my advice! ;)

I have a slight confession to make: I'm a huge fan of cooking in order to warm up my kitchen. So really, I didn't need to have warm stock at the ready for this dish. It's not like I was trying to make risotto or something. But the idea of having two hotplates running at once, to warm up my freezing fingers... I'm sorry, but I caved in. It happens, sometimes. I'm still convinced that eating a warm lunch is better than turning on the heater in my room. Anyway, the rest of the soup was made in comfort, with steamed-up windows and toasty hands. Definite success!

Creamy Celeriac Soup
(feeds one hungry vegan)

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 large celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 large mashing potato, cubed
6 cups vegetable stock (for basic stock advice, go here)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

Warm the oil and garlic together until it begins to sizzle - this method stops the garlic from burning. Add the celeriac and potato, stirring often, and allow them to get brown, toasty edges.
When you have it sufficiently toasty (or when you're concerned that any longer would burn your garlic) add the stock and herbs. Turn the heat down a little and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender - about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
Blend the soup in a blender or with one of those lovely hand-held mixers (mine is back in Australia, sigh!) until it's smooth and creamy. Serve warm with lots of black pepper and a sprinkling of parsley.

3 comments:

  1. Hi there! I discovered your blog through the vegan mofo feed and I really like it! I also bought a celeriac today to make celeriac schnitzel. Maybe I'll change my mind now.

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  2. Sounds perfect for such a cold day!

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  3. That's so funny, I always wondered what that big chunky thing at the store was! Looks like a delicious soup!

    Happy Mofo from another German Vegan blog!

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