If I had to choose a word to define my childhood and even teenage years, fear would be it. To name a few of my fears: darkness, sleeping alone, mirrors, clowns, dolls, sleepovers, odd numbers (don’t ask), heights, cockroaches. There were many more, but let’s keep it simple, shall we? Glad to report that just as my pickiness to eat, those fears are a thing of the past. Except heights and cockroaches. The former I still try to work on, cockroaches are out of question. I am talking about the tropical kind, with their scary dimensions and uncanny ability to fly across a room. I shiver just to think about them. Growing up, I don’t remember ever seeing celery root in our home, but being the easily scared self I was, I bet I would be afraid of it too. It does look like a large potato under the spell of black magic. Something that belongs in the setting of Hansel and Gretel’s tale (which as a matter of fact gave me nightmares for months after reading it as a child).
But, don’t let celery root (aka celeriac) looks prevent you from enjoying it. Under that harsh appearance, lies a beautiful white entity, with a flavor vaguely reminiscent of celery, but much more complex. Yes, it is a bit hard to peel, and if you are not careful a finger or two could be hurt in the process, but keep calm, peel on, and make soup before the weather gets too hot. Too hot. What a silly statement. Sorry, sometimes I make no sense.
CELERIAC AND PARSNIP SOUP WITH TOASTED COCONUT
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium celery rib, diced
1 shallot, minced
1 large celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks
3 to 4 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and cut in chunks
salt and black pepper
dash of nutmeg
4 cups water
lemon juice to taste
Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to accommodate all ingredients. Sautee the shallot with the celery until fragrant and shallots become translucent. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the pieces of parsnips and celeriac, saute for a few minutes, moving them around.
Add water, making sure it cover the veggies. Bring to a boil, cook until parsnips and celeriac pieces are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer the veggies with some of the water to a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. You might need to do it in two batches, being careful while processing hot liquids (using a blender keep the lid open and cover the top with a kitchen cloth). Use only enough water to get the consistency you like.
Return the processed soup to the pan on low heat, adjust consistency with the reserved water if needed. Season with nutmeg, add a squeeze of lemon juice, taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with coconut flakes (unsweetened) sautéed in olive oil or butter, lightly seasoned with salt, or with any other topping you like.
to print the recipe, click here
This was a delicious soup, the lemon juice at the end does that citric magic I am very fond of. If I had a dollar bill for every time I use lemon juice in my cooking, I’d be rich. You can make this soup a bit more luscious adding a touch of cream if you want, or using chicken stock instead of water, but I often like to keep things simple and let the flavor of the veggies take the spotlight. I am not quite sure about the nutmeg. I love nutmeg with cauliflower and in bechamel sauce, but I might omit it in this soup next time. Maybe I used too heavy a hand, I thought the flavor was a bit too strong. Anyway, if you make it, go easy with it and taste it.
Before I say goodbye, here is a small collection of recipes to help you lose any residual fear of celery root… just in case you need it 😉
SWEET AND SOUR CELERIAC SEPHARDIC STYLE, from Tasty Eats
CELERY ROOT, APPLE AND WALNUT SALAD from Cooking and Traveling in Italy and Beyond
CELERY ROOT LETTUCE WRAPS from The Wimpy Vegetarian
CELERY ROOT REMOULADE, from Kitchen Riffs
FRENCH LENTILS WITH CARAMELIZED CELERY ROOT, from Martha Stewart
POACHED EGGS OVER CELERY ROOT LATKES, from Fresh Start
POTATO AND CELERY ROOT ROSTI, from Martha Stewart
I hope you enjoyed this small tour on celeriac possibilities, and if you are a celeriac virgin, you will give it a try in the near future. Nothing to fear, I promise!
ONE YEAR AGO: Prime Rib Roast, Mexican Style
TWO YEARS AGO: Sourdough Bread with Walnuts and Dates
THREE YEARS AGO: Braised Brisket with Bourbon-Apricot Glaze
FOUR YEARS AGO: The Real Vodka Sauce
FIVE YEARS AGO: Pork Tenderloin and Blue Cheese
28 thoughts on “ARE YOU AFRAID OF CELERY ROOT?”
I’ve only ever had it mashed and mixed with potatoes. It was … ok. I wouldn’t mind it in soup either.
hummmm… that…. ok told it all.. not a huge fan, right? 😉
I have never had it mashed, but it’s on my list to try soon (well, you know how “soon” goes with me)
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I was intrigued to try it and the least offensive/most palatable thing I could think of to do with it was boiling and mashing. That was 2 1/2 years ago. 🙂
Maybe one day I’ll try it again in a way that its flavour can shine.
Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.
a potato cursed by black magic……yes, that is absolutely what it looks like! I’m a huge fan of celeriac , but clowns….now, they are another story!
Clowns freak me out. Even today, but let’s not talk about it….
I’m definitely not scared of celery root but I can’t say I’m a fan either. Maybe this soup will make me change my mind…
I think you might like this soup, Mike – the flavor is quite subtle, and you can always add more parsnips and just show the celery root to the pan 😉
Wonderful recipe and idea! 🙂
If you’re interested in one more way of cooking celery root, check out my Sephardic style celery root recipe: https://ronitpenso.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/sweet-and-sour-celeriac-sephardic-style/
Just added you to the top of the list! Cool recipe, thanks!
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂
Wow! So many recipes to look at! Brilliant 🙂
Glad you liked the round-up!
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So many recipes! Who needs cookbooks any more??
so true! I have so many cookbooks collecting dust! (sigh)
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This looks beautiful, and would make me forget its original looks. P.S. Cockroaches, rodents, possums, and raccoons for me. Forever.
Rodents scare me when I’m not expecting them – I can still handle mice in the lab and all that. Been bitten three times by mice (one of the times was quite bad, the animal room seemed like a crime scene… 😉
The only way I’ve ever eaten celeriac is in soup. I never had one that looked as good as this one. Now that soup weather is upon us I’m making lists like Santa that will last me until Spring. 🙂
Put this one on your list, but make sure to include the broccoli soup with coconut milk I blogged about a couple of months ago… my favorite!
Well I fear celery root only because it tastes WAY too much like celery to me…but if I liked celery, then I’m sure I wouldn’t feel this way!
Yes, I know you and celery are not in good terms and it is a relationship that probably will never improve… maybe you should skip this soup… 😉
I am a soup fanatic. I’m sure I’ve tasted celery root before, but I certainly haven’t cooked with it myself. Might have to take the plunge!
If you are a soup fanatic, you need this one… I am sure you will love it, very unique flavor
What a great post! I detest odd numbers… Funny thing, I think celery root is about the only food I don’t like. My mother used to make raw salads with it and I couldn’t handle the smell. Maybe I should try it again. It’s the same as celeriac, is it not?
yep, celeriac it is…
I think our taste buds do change with time, and maybe you could try it again? but let’s just be friends no matter what, ok? Even if you hate it!
odd numbers… blaaaah!
We’re friends in spite of the fact that you don’t drink wine! So celeriac will not come between us! I just have to find it…
I am not sure where you got the idea I don’t drink wine! Wine is actually the only alcoholic thing I drink, pretty much. Mostly white, sometimes red.
I don’t drink as much as I used to be able to, that’s true… and if I decide to drink something else, then I cannot switch to wine. My body doesn’t handle alcohol very well anymore….