this is celeriac, or celery root, a type of celery grown for it's root rather than the stalks and leaves. the flavor is very similar to stalk celery, though milder, sweeter, and not nearly as bitter or salty. i've been using it as a celery substitute in some of the stocks and soups i'm making this winter, since celery isn't available. i've also mashed it with potatoes as a side dish and roasted it with other roots.
it may look like a baseball-sized wart, but it is fresh, earthy, and delicious.
i've found it's easiest to slice off the thick, knobby skin rather than try to peel. at this stage, the celery aroma really comes through.
once inside, its pretty little tortoiseshell pattern is revealed.
this time, the celeriac became a smooth and creamy soup that looked a lot like cream of wheat, but tasted fantastic. the little bit of sweetness in the celeriac is intensified by roasting it, and a thorough spin in the blender creates a silky texture. this is a wonderful soup, but i think it would be best served as a small starter to a meal. a big bowl of it got to be a little bit intense for me, as is the case with most blended soups, i've found.
roasted celeriac soup
from planet green*
2 cups celeriac, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
toss cubed celeriac with a little olive oil and roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
heat 1 Tbps olive oil in soup pot over to medium. add onion and saute until softened, then stir in garlic and cook for about a minute, careful not to burn the garlic.
add potato, stock, and thyme. bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. add roasted celeriac and simmer another 10 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. remove from heat and cool slightly.
add soup (in batches, if necessary) to blender and blend until very smooth. (can also use an immersion blender, but i've found the countertop blender most effective when i'm after a smooth texture.)
return to pot, stir in milk, and season with salt and pepper.
*the original recipe called for celery, leeks, fresh tarragon and parsley. as i had none of these on hand, they didn't go in the pot. however, i suspect these would all be wonderful additions, and would add a little more green to the color.
celeriac-- full circle farm
onion-- willie green's organics
potato-- olsen farms