01 February, 2010

Celery Root Soup

I spotted this recipe last week  and it grabbed my attention with ingredients I can eat.
It's really difficult to find soup recipes with no flour or dairy or beans or grains.

I can only eat so much chicken soup, squash soup or beef soup before its gets really boring.
I do like soup because it's fast to reheat and its easy. Therefore, when I have soup made, and in the fridge, I am a good girl as regards to my health issues.
In the old days, I would never have looked at a recipe like this. It's complicated. It takes a couple of hours to make. These aren't ingredients I have in my fridge or pantry.
I have never in my life bought celery root before. Before I made this soup, I ranked celery root right into the parsnip/rutabaga nightmares that were my childhood. 
It's time to get past my childhood.

The soup turned out really good. We ate it as a first course because we felt so 'gourmet'.

Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples and Chive Oil
 This is a three-part recipe.
1. Cooking down the celery and seasonings
2. Making the cashew cream - starts with soaking the nuts for 24 hrs in the fridge.
3. Chive Oil?

Pinch of Sea Salt
3 Tbsp. X-virgin Olive Oil
2 Med. Celery Roots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks
2 Ribs Celery, chopped
1 lg. Onion, chopped
2 qts. Stock
1 Bay leaf
1 cup Cashew Cream***
salt & pepper to taste
1 granny smith apple, unpeeled, diced small. ( I used a Fuji Apple).
2 Tbsp. Chive Oil***

We start with a large pot over medium heat. Warm the sea salt  for one minute. Add the oil and heat for 30 seconds, careful not to let it smoke. This will create a non-stick effect.

Add celery root, celery and onion; saute for 6 - 8 min. until soft but not brown.
Add the broth(stock) and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add cashew cream and simmer for ten minutes more.

Remove bay leaf from soup (oops).
Working in batches, Puree soup in blender with lid firmly on.

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Place a spoonful of diced apple in the center of each serving and drizzle with 1 tsp. chive oil around the apple.


Soup keeps for 3 - 4 days in the fridge. It can be frozen, thawed and reheated. When reheating, vigorously whisk or re-blend the soup for optimal creaminess. Chop apples just before serving (browning).

***Cashew Cream.
Put 1 cup of raw cashews in a bowl. Cover with cold water and soak in fridge overnight. Drain and rinse two times. Place in blender with enough fresh water to cover the nuts. Blend on high for several minutes until smooth and creamy. If you want more creaminess, place through a sieve. (My blender texture was fine.)(I forgot the 24hr thing - so mine were put in freezer for 30 minutes).

***Chive Oil.
Blanch 1 small bunch of chives for 30 seconds in boiling water, then drain and chill in an ice bath. Squeeze moisture from chives and place in a blender with 1/2 cup canola oil (used Safflower Oil) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree for 2 minutes. Strain with sieve (I used a tea strainer). Oil is very flavorful, so only use 5 -6 drops per serving. Can be stored in fridge for several weeks.

When I first thought of this soup, I envisioned a green soup - kind of a split pea green soup. This soup is more of a tan, creamy color. The cashew cream was easy to make even if I forgot to soak them 24 hours in advance. The chives were freshly picked from my garden and packed a lot of new spring into the soup.

I am, I confess, the only person on this planet who dislikes Granny Smith apples. I can see where a green skinned apple and the green chive oil would compliment each other for presentation. I used a Fuji and it was all right.

This soup was thick & creamy. Same blender process as my butternut squash soup but the nut cream is crazy cool. Then there were the subtle flavors of the celery and the chives - hints if you will - nothing overpowering. The diced apples were different but added to the flavor notes.
I liked this as part of a meal. I would definitely make this again and even looked at Celery root seed in my garden catalog.

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