To assist with our 21-day meat-free and alcohol-free detox, we recently wandered through the local library to look for meal ideas. A few magazines and an armload of cookbooks later, we spied a vegetarian leek and celery root soup from the 2007 Fine Cooking Annual Cookbook.
We were first introduced to celery root soup during a business trip to Santa Barbara and perfected an RGB version last year. But this one… this one incorporates leek. And no broth… so what you have is pure, unadulterated leek and celery root.
And you know what else? The scent is intoxicating. Try it; you’ll see. I promise. Garnish with celery leaves for the full effect.
P.S.It just-so-happened that the recipe’s author was once a chef at Chez Panisse (where we had dinner the night we got married). Tasha, thank you for a wonderful recipe.
Did anyone detox this year? What did you give up – and was it worth it?
Silky Leek & Celery Root Soup
~ Serves 4-6 ~
~ Ingredients ~
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium leeks (white and light green parts)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- Kosher salt
- 1 large or 2 small celery root(s) (yield 1 ½ pounds)
- ¾ cup 6 tablespoons crème fraîche
- ¼ cup heavy cream; more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
- Optional: celery leaves, for garnish
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (then let sit overnight before serving)
- Trim leeks; halve lengthwise, cut cross-wise into thin half-moon slices, rise well, and drain. Thinly slice medium onion.
- In a 4-quart or larger heavy pot, melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly golden but not brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low if you see signs of browning.
- Meanwhile, peel the celery root with a sharp knife (expect to slice quite a bit off the exterior as you trim). Halve the root lengthwise and cut each half into 1-inch-thick wedges. Cut each wedge crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices. You should have about 5 cups. Add the celery root, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and ½ cup water to the leeks. Cover and cook until the celery root is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. (Check occasionally; if all the water cooks off and the vegetables start to brown, add another ½ cup water). Add 4 ½ cups water, bring to a simmer, and continue to cook another 20 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Purée the soup (with an immersion blender or in small batches in a stand blender) to a very smooth, creamy consistency. Let cool completely, then store in the refrigerator at least overnight or for up to two days.
- About an hour before serving, put the crème fraîche in a small bowl and stir in enough of the heavy cream so the mixture reaches the consistency of yogurt. Leave this at room temperature until you are ready to serve the soup. (If the cream is too cold, it will cool the soup.)
- Reheat the soup. (If it’s too thick, gradually thin it with as much as 1 cup water.) Taste and add more salt as needed. Ladle the soup into small espresso cups or shot classes. Top each portion with a small spoonful of crème fraîche (it should float on top of the soup). Finish each cup with a pinch of black pepper and a sprinkle of chives or celery leaf.
Nutrition content per serving: 160 calories, 12g carbs, 2g protein, 12g fat, 1g fiber
Cost per serving: $1.41