Celeriac is one of my favourite vegetables, so much so that when I got one in my veg box recently I felt like I’d won the lottery. If you’ve never tried it before I’d urge you to do so. You might have heard it being described as tasting like celery, and it sort of does, in an abstract sort of way. If you don’t like celery don’t let it put you off. It has the sweet, spicy flavour of celery, but it is warm and starchy rather crunchy and green. Or, as one of my former housemates once drunkenly told me, it’s like sex in root vegetable form.
Celeriac is rather knobbly and dirty, and might look a bit daunting to peel, but as long as you have a decent quality vegetable peeler and a sharp paring knife it won’t take too long.
This recipe is loosely based on one from James Martin, a TV chef who likes to add a ton of butter and cream to everything he makes (the recipe is here if you’re interested). My soup is less greasy but just as creamy and delicious. I’ve swapped the wine for cider (a) because I’m a cider fiend, and (b) because the fruitiness really compliments the spiciness and makes the soup warmer and more comforting. If you can, use a good quality local cider, rather than a slosh out of a can of stuff that contains more high-fructose corn syrup than actual apples.
Recipe (serves four)
- a tablespoon or so of oil
- a large onion, peeled and chopped
- a couple of cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
- a medium celeriac (about 500-700g peeled weight), peeled, and chopped into approx. 1.5cm cubes
- 100ml cider
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 100ml milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat. Fry the onions with the lid on, for about five minutes. Add the garlic and celeriac and fry for about five more minutes, still covered.
Add the cider and hot stock, then simmer without boiling (again, with the lid on) for about 15 minutes, until the celeriac is tender. Add the milk, and blend until smooth. Reheat, and check for seasoning.
Serve hot with a nice bit of toast. Perfect on a cold autumn day.