Wednesday 27 November 2013

Celeriac Soup

Celeriac. Often referred to as the unsung hero of the vegetable world. I had heard so much about it, with every celebrity chef these days making celeriac mash or celeriac puree or some such thing, but to be honest it had never even occurred to me to buy one. But then last week I opened my organic vegetable delivery and there it was. Staring up at me from deep within the box was without a doubt the ugliest vegetable I have ever seen. So how would I describe a celeriac...

Well to be blunt, it is brown, knobbly, odd shaped and slightly hairy. Sounds like a treat doesn't it! But don't let that put you off. A root vegetable similar to turnip, celeriac has a light peppery celery-like flavour with a slight hint of nuttiness. As well as making it into mash or puree it can be thinly sliced and fried to make vegetable chips or roasted with parsnips or butternut squash. With N's scepticism at trying new things I thought the safest and simplest way to try out this vegetable was in the form of a soup. My veg box also contained some lovely fresh spinach so I though this would make a great pairing. And some pancetta gave it a bit of texture. It turned out to be a delicious, hearty dish perfect for a cold wintry evening. If you want to make it even more creamy add a dollop of cream or swirl in some yoghurt.

I have to admit I am loving my vegetable and fruit box delivery. It has pushed me to think outside the box and experiment with some new flavours and recipes. I have a couple of cards offering a free trial box so if anyone is interested email me your address to and I will pop one in the post to you.

Celeriac and Spinach Soup
(serves 4 - total prep and cooking time 40 mins)

  • 1 med-large celeriac - peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • Approx 100g fresh spinach - cleaned and chopped (or 5-6 cubes of chopped frozen spinach)
  • 1 onion - diced
  • 3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • Small pack or pancetta (optional)
  • Handful of fresh chopped parsley
  • Tablespoon of cream or yoghurt (optional)
  • Heat some olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onion and garlic for a few minutes
  • Add in the chopped celeriac and stir
  • Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes until the celeriac is soft. Stir in the spinach and parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Transfer to a blender and whizz until smooth. Transfer back to the saucepan
  • In a small frying pan fry the pancetta for a few minutes until cooked and crispy and add to the soup
  • Stir in the cream or yoghurt and serve with black pepper