Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Celery Root Soup

Celeriac, also known as celery root or knob celery, is a kind of celery grown as a root vegetable for its large hypocotyl rather than for its stem and leaves. Unlike other root vegetables, which store a large amount of starch, celery root is only about 5-6% starch by weight. Celeriac has a celery flavor and is often used in soups and stews. It can also be mashed or used in casseroles, gratins, or baked dishes. Try this recipe, adapted from The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. [Serves 6]
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium celery roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 quarts broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup thick Cashew Cream* (see below)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 unpeeled Granny Smith apple, very finely diced (optional, for garnish)
Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and heat for 1 minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, being careful not to let it smoke. This will create a nonstick effect.

Add the celery root, celery, and onion and sauté for 6-10 minutes, stirring often, until soft but not brown. Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the cashew cream and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Place a spoonful of the diced apple in the center of each serving.

*To make 1 cup of Cashew Cream, place 2/3 cup whole raw cashews (not pieces, which are often dry), rinsed very well under cold water, in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. Cashew cream is a vegan-chef staple and can be stored 2-3 days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up to 6 months (although after it's defrosted it can be a bit lumpy, so it's good to give it a spin in the blender to smooth it out before using it).

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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