Some things are just more beautiful on the inside, like celery root. You may have skimmed over it in the produce section thinking what is this unattractive and obscure vegetable, and how would I use it. Also known as celery knob or celeriac, it might make sense it is the root of what we commonly know as celery stalks. Nope, it’s a root vegetable all on its own with a flavor somewhere between celery and parsley. A vegetable peeler will get you past the knobby exterior. Trim the ends and then its ready to be used in so many fun ways. Simmered and mashed as a side vegetable or as a perch for seafood or chicken. Sliced thinly, tossed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and roasted. Sliced into strips or grated and tossed in a salad.
Which brings me to this soup where celery root is simmered until very soft, along with cauliflower florets – one of the easiest ways to use it. And the absolute best part is using an immersion blender that you stick right in the simmered soup to make the puree. I hope you have one. If not, transferring the soup to a food processor works great too. Just a little more mess and dishes.
Side note – I have to come clean to you about my relationship with cauliflower. I avoided it for a large portion of my life. I wasn’t in love with its texture or bland flavor. My loss I know. But I think I wasn’t alone. And yes, I admit to being a follower and not a leader with cauliflower waiting until other hipper ways to use it became popular – like tossing it in olive oil and roasting, it or slicing it and searing it like a steak. I can thank the popularity of vegan cooking for opening my eyes.
Okay, back to the soup. Yes the cauliflower pulls its weight being the majority ingredient but what a difference the celery root makes. Just enough to boost the flavor to extraordinary. Celery root’s season is September to May and they range in size from an apple to a small melon.
Unpeeled celery root
Peeled celery root
Chopped celery root
Blade end of a hand-held immersion blender
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped
- 5 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 8 cups 1-1/2 to 2-inch cauliflower florets (approximately 2-pound head)
- 2 cups chopped celery root (1 medium size)
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 1 tablespoon fresh
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons cream, optional
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Chopped Italian parsley for garnish
- Heat butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; and onions and cook and stir until lightly browned about 5 minutes adding garlic in the last minute. Add broth, cauliflower, celery root, salt and thyme leaves; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until cauliflower and celery root are very soft and falling apart about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove soup from heat.
- Puree soup using a hand-held immersion blender or in a food processor. Stir in optional cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with parsley