My first experience with celeriac, or celery root, was in culinary school almost ten years ago. Before this, I had no clue what to do with this bulbous, gnarly looking veggie. Nor did I want to learn about it.
That was the wrong attitude.
In school, we made a puree for the base of a dish one evening.
And that was it: I was hooked on the mellow flavor of the root. I adore traditional celery, but not so much the strings that come with it.
Then, like a dream come true, this root walks into my kitchen (well, maybe it rolled…) and life hasn’t been the same since.
Now, this root veggie is one of my absolute favorites to use to make soups and french fries, along with kohlrabi, a kind of root-adjacent vegetable. (What’s that, you say? You can read more about kohlrabi here.)
Yep, you that read correctly. This veggie makes impressive baked fries.
Looking back, it truly seems all the signs were in place from the beginning: this girl was meant to like celery root. It was only a matter of time before I received – willingly or not – my first introduction to its wonders.
And for that introduction, I am forever grateful.
For this soup, you’ll combine chopped chunks of celeriac with chopped Granny Smith apples, onions, chicken broth, and butter.
These things will cook for a while, softening all the ingredients until they’re ready to be pureed.
Then you’ll transfer the mixture to a blender. I love my Vitamix for making purees since it can achieve a silky smooth texture, time after time. Just be sure to blend in batches, leave the top slightly open, and wrap the whole thing in a towel to avoid nasty burns!
With a little grapeseed oil mixed with chives drizzled on top, this creamy, comforting soup is every bit as soothing as cream of potato. But it’s different, with the unmistakable flavor of celery, returning like an old friend, as you always knew he would.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Gather and Wash Ingredients
As always, wash all of your produce. This includes the celeriac, apples, chives, and onion.
Be thorough in this step. Apples are among the EWG’s Dirty Dozen for pesticide residue, and we don’t want to consume those nasty chemicals.
Scrub any remaining soil off the root too. Yes, we are peeling it, but we still need to wash it first.
Gather the remaining ingredients: butter, stock or broth, olive oil, grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper.
Step 2 – Prep Ingredients
Not sure how to pick out celeriac? An old San Francisco Chronicle article gives the following advice for choosing fresh ones: look for roots that are heavy for their shape and not too dry.
Now that you have your veggie, how in the world do you cut it?
Get a very sharp, very heavy chef’s knife and cut off each end of the dense, brown skin. Turn it on one of the flat ends and cut down along the sides. What you’ll find inside is a solid, white center that smells like celery and the earth and your hands deep when they’re dug deep into the soil of a spring garden.
From here, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to remove the remaining skin.
Rinse after peeling and then cube the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes.
The cubes don’t have to be perfect. Just keep things mostly uniform, so they will cook evenly. Once cubed, set aside.
With the same peeler or paring knife, peel the apples. Core and cube these and set aside.
Peel and dice your onions and set them aside as well. Don’t forget: you can avoid those tears with our handy tips!
Step 3 – Saute Veggies, Add Stock, and Simmer
To a dutch oven, add the butter and melt over medium heat.
Once melted, add the apples, onions, and celery root. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Saute these for about 15 minutes, until the produce has softened.
We are developing the flavors here, so don’t rush this step. But be sure not to brown the fruits and veggies either. We aren’t caramelizing them.
Add your 4 cups of stock and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let simmer for about 25 minutes.
We want the cubes of fruit and veg to be soft, but not disintegrating. Once all are soft, remove from the heat and let the pot sit uncovered for about 10 minutes to cool.
Step 4 – Puree
Once cooled, add ingredients to a high-speed blender like a Vitamix. You may need to puree this in batches, depending on the size of your blender.
An immersion or stick blender can also be used. You will get a different texture with this though. The final result won’t be silky smooth like if you use the blender.
Once the soup is pureed, return to the stove on medium-low heat to heat through, and switch gears and start making your chive puree.
Step 5 – Make Chive Puree
This garnish uses equal parts chives and grapeseed oil. Why grapeseed oil?
Because it’s light and flavorless, allowing the chives to shine through.
To figure out how to make the best puree, I used a food processor, Vitamix, and immersion blender, and compared the results.
The immersion blender yielded the best results since it is such a small amount of puree being made. I don’t see making large batches of this being helpful or useful, so the larger appliances are not as well suited for the job.
Add the puree to a squeeze bottle and garnish the soup as you prefer. You can also use a spoon if you wish. The chive oil can be made up to two hours before serving.
Step 6 – Serve
Serve this warm pureed soup in generous soup bowls and garnish with the pureed chive oil.
Crusty bread would be a great addition, too. And you can dip it in any leftover chive puree. YUM.
Refrigerate any leftovers and reheat for another comforting serving.
Do You Love This New Vegetable Now?
Alone, or served as a side, this soup is nothing short of amazing.
Cozy and light, it is like the delicate cousin of potato soup, enticing you and calling you in for another warm, comforting bowl.
Be ready for an unexpected explosion of savory flavors with an exciting hint of tartness from the apples – a truly perfect pairing.
Did you serve this along with another dish? Tell us how you liked it in the comments below!
If blended soups are your thing, you’ll love these:
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Photos by Leslie Morrison, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 3rd, 2009. Last updated: October 24, 2018 at 5:42 am with additional writing by Leslie Morrison.
*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her mantra? Restoring order and celebrating beauty through creative content, photography, and food. Shanna's work has been featured in Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, MSN.com, Everyday Health, Better Homes & Gardens, Houzz.com, Food News Journal, Food52, Zeit Magazine, Chew the World, Mom.me, Babble, Delish.com, Parade, Foodista, Entrepreneur and Ragan PR.