Our organic veg box arrived this week with the most peculiar vegetable in it. Huge and knobbly, covered in tendrils, it looked like something from Professor Sprout’s Herbology classroom rather than our local organic farm (although I guess here in Edinburgh we aren’t all that far from Hogwarts). It was of course a celeriac (or celery root).
Sam was immediately suspicious. Not only did it look decidedly foreign, celery is on the list of flavours we have to hide in dishes to avoid complaint, so cooking something both tasty and that would pass the Sam test proved to be a little bit of a challenge.
I am a bit alien to how to use a celeriac myself, so I had flick through some cookbooks to discover that there are a good few things one can do with a celeriac; it can be pureed or mashed, sliced and turned into a gratin and even peeled into salad. For today however, in the interest of making things family friendly, the celeriac is going to be a little bit hidden within a delicious warming winter soup.
In addition to the celeriac, we have some carrot and swede (yellow turnip) to add a little sweetness, but these can be omitted if you want to fully appreciate the creamy deliciousness of the celeriac.
Celeriac Soup (serves 4)
1 large carrot
1/2 swede (yellow turnip)
1 small potato
2 pints vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1. Dice – Peel all the vegetables and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Celeriac, much like the swede, is easiest peeled with a knife rather than a peeler owing to its many nooks and crannies.
2. Heat – Place all the vegetables in a large saucepan over a medium high heat with a splash of olive oil, stirring frequently. This should allow the vegetables to colour slightly and the onion to soften and bring out the sweetness of all those delicious root vegetables.
3. Simmer – After about 5 minutes, pour over the stock, add the thyme and top up with hot water until the vegetables are about an inch over being just covered. When the pot comes to the boil turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until everything is soft enough to fall off a fork when skewered.
4. Blend – Remove from the heat and leave for a couple of minutes to cool. Place in a blender and whiz until you are left with a smooth consistency. Taste for seasoning adding salt and pepper as appropriate then serve.