Celeriac (otherwise known as celery root) is one ugly vegetable. Luckily, it doesn’t have to get by on looks alone because its flavor is sublimely beautiful. I think its taste can best be described as lying somewhere between parsley and celery. And that is what makes it perfect for soup making. Here, I’ve paired it up with another star of the autumn harvest: crisp sweet apple.
This soup is very quick work to assemble. I prepared it on a weeknight while helping my kids with homework. Seriously, it’s that easy. At its heart it’s homey, comforting fare perfect for slurping by the fire. But if you want to amp up the sophistication level just a bit, serve the soup with these beautiful lacy Parmesan crackers called frico. In Italy, you’ll frequently see them as a garnish in soups and stews. They also couldn’t be easier to make, just grate and bake. They add a nice saltiness to the slightly sweet soup and their delicate, lacy appearance is beautiful on the plate. Now that’s a perfect dish in my books, one that brings inner beauty and outer beauty into perfect harmony.
Soup serves 6 (makes about 8 cups)/Makes 12 frico
Celeriac and Apple Soup
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium Russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 medium celeriac (about 1 pound), peeled and chopped
2 medium apples (such as Fuji), peeled, cored and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
A couple thyme sprigs, leaves picked
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 heaping cup grated aged Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To make the soup: In a large soup pot, heat the butter and oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, potato, and celeriac and cook gently until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the apple, garlic, and thyme and continue to cook a more few minutes to soften the garlic and apple.
- Pour in the stock and 4 cups of water and increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, until all the vegetables are very tender. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to keep the soup simmering and continue to cook a further 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, make the Parmesan frico: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (or silpat). Place heaping tablespoons of the grated cheese on the baking paper, pressing to flatten into about 3-inch circles. Season with pepper and bake for about 5 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Let cool then carefully lift off the tray using a spatula. Place on a cooling rack until ready to use.
- Let the soup cool slightly before adding, in batches, to a blender and puree until smooth. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to blend the soup right in the pot. Check for seasoning again. Serve soup with Parmesan frico.
Nutritional analysis of soup based on 6 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste):
Calories 193, Fat 8g, Sodium 301mg, Carbohydrate 26g, Fiber 3g, Sugar 10g, Protein 6g
Nutritional analysis per frico:
Calories 36, Fat2g, Sodium 127mg, Carbohydrate 0g, Fiber 0g, Sugar 0g, Protein 3g