Friday, December 14, 2007

Celeriac & Parsley Soup - a Soothing Recipe


Celery is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean, and it still grows wild there in wetter areas. Not the celery you’ll find in your Waldorf salad, that is, but a leafier, blossom-covered variety, sometimes known as smallage, whose seeds have long been used medicinally and as a flavoring agent.

Celery as we now know it was being eaten in France by the early 17th century, and celery root – or celeriac – showed up about the same time.

I love celeriac this time of year for its cooling, clean flavor. Grated raw for salads or simmered down into simple soups, it makes a soothing remedy for the excesses of the season. Here I add a generous amount of parsley, which belongs to the same family as celery and was believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to prevent intoxication. Very useful indeed if you’re feeling a bit woozy from the previous night’s revels!

I like this soup with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a drizzle of good olive oil, but you can dress it up for company by swirling a little white truffle oil over each bowl instead. A few shavings of fresh truffle over the top would be exquisite, if you happen to have some about.


Serves 6

extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced into half-moons
kosher salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
2 ½ lbs celery root, peeled and sliced no thicker than ½ inch slices
6 cups chicken stock
1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, rinsed well, stems trimmed
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the onion and sprinkle with salt. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transluscent. Add the garlic and stir for another minute. Add the celery root slices and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cover partially, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 45 minutes or until the celery root is very tender.

Strain the soup into a large bowl and place the solids in a food processor. Add the parsley and pulse until a smooth purée forms – you may need to ladle in some of the cooking liquid to help along the process here.

Put the purée back in the cooking pot and ladle in the cooking liquid until the desired consistency is reached – you may want to use all the liquid, but go slowly just incase. Reheat the soup over medium-low heat, stirring often. Season with lemon juice, black pepper, and plenty of salt. Serve hot with yogurt and olive oil or truffle oil and truffle slices.

61 comments:

Joan said...

stunning top photo!

Joanna said...

What a good combination ... lovely to have all that parsley - definitely one to make next week. And very intriguing to read about smallage - I've never heard of it, but it sounds easier to grow than celery or celeriac, so I think I'll look out for it in the seed catalogues

Thanks, Amanda

Figs Olives Wine said...

Joan, thanks! The tree takes up an awful lot of room in my NY apartment - it's hard to get away from ; )

Joanna, thank you my dear! It's very refreshing after all the rich food I've been eating this month. Hope you like it. I've never tasted smallage to my knowledge - though I'm sure I;ve had food flavored with the seeds. I'd be absolutely fascinated if you find some to grow - you must keep me posted!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

You know I have never been a huge fan of celery...but this looks really pretty.

Sorry I have been a little MIA recently, Roberto and I just moved and it has taken over my life! As well as finishing up projects in the town we moved FROM. Then there are the holidays...

Hope you are well!

Maryann said...

When I read garlic, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil..I'm drawn in. Sounds like a wonderful soup, Amanda.I once pulled celeriac out of it's garden spot when purchasing a new home because I had never seen it before! Now, I'm more careful. Nice photo btw ;)

Figs Olives Wine said...

Jenn, moving right before the holidays! Talk about stress. I moved 2 weeks before I had to leave the country for my wedding. It's a miracle I didn't lose my mind, and I'm sure you're feeling the same way! Hope your new home is coming together and you're feeling a little bit settled!

Maryann, haha! I love it. And who can blame you? It's totally hideous - like something they'd study at Hogwarts in fact.

Cynthia said...

We get not celeriac but a celery that's much smaller but just as leafy as the celeriac - our looks like flat-leaf parsley. We also get the big celery - stalks.

I know there are lots of people that don't like celery but it is truly one of my favourite herbs. I particularly like what you done with it here in the soup.

Mercedes said...

I love celery root soups, soothing is just the right word. I believe smallage is the same thing as lovage, which gives a hint to it's strong flavor.

Farmgirl Susan said...

This soup sounds really refreshing. I adore parsley, and it's always nice to see it showcased rather than used as just a garnish! And I think you've convinced me to give celeriac another try in the garden. I've ordered seeds numerous times, but I can only remember one year where any of them actually made it into the ground--and the results were truly disappointing. Though after looking at your photo I realize the roots don't have to be as big as I thought. I'll shoot for an early spring crop next year--or, more likely, a late fall one! xo

Figs Olives Wine said...

Cynthia, that's fascinating! I wonder what it is? Maybe another version of the same thing - slightly different strain or whatever. It's one of my favorites too, by the way - so clean and refreshing whichever version it comes in!

Mercedes, interesting! You always make me think!! I do know that lovage is great - proven in fact, I think - as an anti inflammatory and a digestion stimulant. I always thought that smallage was a term that is used colloquially both for wild celery and for lovage the herb. Hmmm. Must go check this out now. Thanks so much for the info!

Susan, I agree about the parsley! It's got too much potential to sideline every time. Some of our farmers do have the giant roots you see in supermarkets etc, but these little guys are from Phillips Farm, and I love their flavor! Much more complex. I'd love to hear if you grow them again - keep me posted and good luck tomorrow on the awards! xo

Wendy said...

Am bookmarking this recipe right now. With a sore throat I could use some soothing soups. :)

Gloria said...

Amanda, this a wonderful soup and looks so yummy! xxx Gloria

Tracy said...

I have a gathering coming up where we bring soup and sandwiches, so this will be perfect for the event!

teeth whiteners

Figs Olives Wine said...

Wendy, you poor love! I do believe firmly in the healing power of soups, and I hope you're feeling better soon. Are you at least on holiday from work by now? Hope so. xo

Gloria, great to hear from you! Thanks so much. I'm so pleased you like!

Tracy, wonderful! I'd love to hear whether you go with the yogurt/ olive oil topping or the truffle oil/ shaved truffle option. Let me know. And by the way, a gathering where everyone brings soup and sandwiches sound like so much fun. I'll have to get my friends to try that!

David Hall said...

Come and collect your award for a top post at Cerys the Well Done Angel Awards! x

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amanda, you have just made me crave soup and it's hot here! :)
Love the color of the soup.

swirlingnotions said...

This looks fantastic. I always tend to forget about Celeraic and am not super comfortable with how to cook it, so I'm glad you included it here. Thanks!

Gloria said...

Amanda I put a Lebanese's recipe,at the blog and I think maybe you want a look if you have time of course. xxxxx Gloria

Annemarie said...

Oh yes, I do really like the sound of this topped off with a bit of truffle oil. I only discovered celeriac in the past year or so, but I'm already a huge fan and always looking for new ways to use it.

Ilva said...

wonderful! I'll make it as soon I find my next celeriac!

winedeb said...

Hi Amanda! Just catching up from my snowy trip up north and glad to be back in the sunshine. This soup looks wonderful. You are right, celeriac is a great veggie! I have a gratin that I make using it. I will have to pull it out and give it a go!

Joanne Rendell said...

i wish i'd been online on friday and seen this recipe. i had a horrible sore throat and this looks like just the ticket for such an ailment!! also it looks plain delicious...

Liz said...

I've never made soup from celery root! I'm very excited to try this. My husband isn't so much a celery fan, as he is parsley. Maybe we can call this one marital compromise?

Gloria said...

I know you are so busy, but I want to whish you a lovely Christmas with all your family and a wonderful year, in your beautiful city. Gloria

winedeb said...

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas Amanda! Enjoy your holidays!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Happy Holidays Amanda! Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

Charlotte Hume said...

Amanda,
Celeriac makes great soup - and I know that Freddie will as he likes all the ingredients.
Hope yoiu had a great Christmas and look forward to more collaborations in the New Year.

Sarah McColl said...

i'm having a love affair with celeriac right now and this sounds like heaven.

Bri said...

Yum! This looks so delicious. I just discovered celeriac at our farmers market this season and have been buying it every week. What a wonderful vegetable to add to one's winter routine. Thanks for the great recipe!

winedeb said...

Happy New Year Amanda! Hope all is well your way and you are enjoying your holidays!
My best,
Deb:)

Truffle said...

It's soothing just to look at the photo! What a lovely dish!

Ed Bruske said...

One of my favorite things is celeriac salad. Very big in European cafeterias, not so much here. And I like to include celeriac in my roasted root vegetables. Now you've sold me on the soup, and we have so much parsley growing in the garden already.

Toffeeapple said...

I love the look of that soup! Smallage is wild celery so I doubt you'd find any seeds for sale. Great photos too!

Lacey @ The Road is Life said...

I just found your blog and just wanted to let you know how much I love it-- it is beautiful, your pics are great, and your writing is superb! I love how you put the history of the celery in this post--I love to know the history of foods I am eating!

I look forward to reading more!!

Ciao
Lace

Warda said...

Hope you're doing well Amanda. Take care and happy new year to you and yours.

bleeding espresso said...

Hey there! Just thought I'd check in and see how you're doing. Hopefully you're cooking up a storm for us ;)

Happy 2008!

Evelin said...

Looks and sounds great! I made celeriac soup just the other day - can't get enough of soups this time of year! I added apples and served with caramelized hazelnuts and it really was very soothing! I think I'd like to combination with parsley too, sound intriguing.

swirlingnotions said...

OK, Amanda . . . we miss you. Please come back . . .

Wendy said...

Hello Amanda. You haven't posted in a long time. Just wanted to check you're OK. Missing your posts! :) Wendy

White On Rice Couple said...

Thank you Joanna for cooking with celery root! The first time we had it was in a soup too and it was such a delicious find! Ever since then, we've been on the search for it. Your recipe sounds just addicting! Thank you so very much.

Maryann said...

OK, I have your new title and proper link :) Glad to see you back, Amanda!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Hey Amanda!

I just wanted to let you know, I featured you in the Fridays 's Finest Foodies: http://www.leftoverqueen.com/2008/02/01/finest-foodies-friday/

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

Hey, where are you?

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

I've tried celeriac once before, without much success,but this soup looks worth a try. I just love the color of the olive oil on the soup.

Well done!

June said...

New link noted. Look forward to seeing more from you soon.

LallaLydia said...

Great post (visiting via Maryams). The first time I had celery root was with my French host mother during a year abroad...remoulade de celeriac...I was hooked! Sometimes she would combine it with shaved fennel bulb and then, oh...I was on cloud nine.

Jeena said...

Hi there my name is Jeena and I have started a food recipe forum that I thought you would like to join here Click here for food recipe forum

I would love to see you on there to chat about food and cooking you can talk about anything you like and start your very own topics. :-)
or see my main food recipe website Jeenas food recipe site

Hope to see you soon

Thanks

Jeena x

Lynne said...

found your blog via my marrakesh, and am so happy i did! i love to cook and will be back soon!hope you don't mind me adding you to my links?

jazzjune said...

Is it at all similar to kohlrabi? They look very much alike.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Just wanted to say that I miss you in the blogging world Amanda!

michelle of bleeding espresso said...

I second Jenn's comment ;)

Hope all is well!

Manger La Ville said...

This sounds delicious. I usually think of these roots as being winter like, but your recipe somehow makes them quite summery and light. Can't wait to try it.

Demetra said...

Hello Joan,
I live in Athens, Greece, and just found your site. It is gorgeous. I made this soup the MINUTE I saw your recipe and it is so delicious that I am floored!!! I usually put celeriac with fennel or with green split peas (greens cookbook, both of them) and this looked so simple--plus I had a gorgeous bunch of parsley--and I went for it. It will be a staple soup all winter long! Thank you!!!
-Tula

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. Sounds terrific!

A little recommendation, I found these to be so delicious and useful in my kitchen: http://bajoseasonedsalts.com/

Cheers.

John

cathylwood said...

You are so right about wanting cool and clean this time of year. During the holidays, I unaccountably crave those fresh flavors -- although I also adore rich, sweet and satisfying gooey!

burgundy wines said...

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The Burgundy soil is mainly based on oolitic limestone, upon which both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes flourish. The red wines, made with the Pinot Noir, are more difficult to grow because these grapes are more sensitive to disease or to being badly handled. Towards the south of the region, from around Macon, the soil changes to a reddish granite schist and sand of the Beaujolais. Here, the Gamay grape flourishes, making excellent red wines, many of which are drunk while they are young.

If you have not been to Burgundy, try it. It is a great part of France to visit for a holiday. Alternatively, stay at home and simply drink and enjoy the wine.
You can more information for the Burgundy Wine in: http://www.burgundywinevarieties.com/

maninas said...

Hey, I made a celeriac soup recently, too: http://maninas.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/celeriac-soup/. I have only recently discovered this veg, and I love it. It's lovely in salad, and even with pasta (gently sauteed with olive oil and garlic, and with some parmesan).

I love your addition of lemon and parsley. I added the sour note with creme fraiche, but next time will try yours. My version has hazelnuts and almonds, and a hint of chili, too.

red ticking said...

LOVE your blog...have just discovered it...i am a huge foodie and all of your ideas and recipes are wonderful...i will continue to hunt and read thru it...so much detail and effort...bravo! x pam

Christine said...

Excellent recipe! Hope to see more recipes soon.

John said...

This soup looks delicious. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for posting!

emma. our kitchen said...

What a beautiful blog. Glad I found you. Can't wait to give this recipe a go.

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