Beauty, not beast!
I am the first to admit, we eat with our eyes. The beauty of food is something I take very seriously, and an aspect of my cooking I always seek to achieve. However, even the best of ingredients are not the prettiest when pulled straight from the field.
The number one ingredient that springs to mind is the understated celeriac!
Despite said to have been introduced to Europe as early as the 17th Century, celeriac has long struggled to achieve a strong following on the continent.Whether it is the root’s questionable appearance, or its direct association with family friend celery, every year celeriac seems to struggle to make an impression on the vegetable market. But if we were to just take a minute and embrace its quirky traits, we all might be pleasantly surprised by the comforting and wholesome nature of this ugly root.
Although exhibiting an undeniable ‘celery’ flavour, it is subtle and kind on the palate, allowing its nutty, earthy tendencies to sing through. This makes it the perfect candidate for a warming and comforting root vegetable soup.
Ideal for this time of year, celeriac is packed full of vitamins and minerals ready to fight off any dubious new year bugs. Smooth and silky, and simply enhanced by a few simple ingredients, I have chosen to make a delicious celeriac and apple soup– the perfect winter warmer!
With the addition of woody thyme, acidity from apple, and a little celery to enhance its flavour, this recipe allows the celeriac to do all the talking. Topped with warm, toasted walnuts brings this soup back down to earth, reminding itself of its hardy, rustic roots.
In season from September to April, it is the perfect time to pick up celeriac that is abundant and rich in flavour. Understandably easy to overlook when shopping, take the time to select a firm and heavy root with not too much in the way of discolouration or mottling – this will offer you a vegetable packed full of flavour ideal for roasting, sautéing pr boiling, adding depth and interest to stews and soups alike
Give it a go!
- Splash of rapeseed oil
- 1 large clove garlic, diced
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 1 celeriac
- 1 large green apple
- Bunch of thyme
- 700ml (approx) vegetable or chicken stock
- 250ml milk
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pan, then add the garlic, onion and celery. Allow to soften for 3 – 4 minutes in the pan before adding the roughly chopped celeriac and apple.
- Sprinkle in a couple of sprigs of thymes and allow the ingredients to sauté on a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes. Pour in the stock and cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until the celeriac is soft.
- Remove the pan from the heat and blend until smooth. Gradually add the milk – preferably warm – along with the nutmeg and plenty of seasoning.
- For an extra silky soup, pass through a fine sieve, and reheat slowly. Add more water or milk at this stage if the consistency is too thick. Place the walnuts in a heavy-bottom frying pan on a medium heat to lightly toast. Remove from heat, roughly chop and scatter over the warmed soup. Serve with crusty bread.