The first year I served Christmas dinner, I began with a celery consommé. It delighted my Mom, who felt it was the perfect start to a heavy holiday meal. It was light and clean, and the distilled herbal, grassy taste of celery woke up your tastebuds ahead of the numbing succession of starches and winter vegetables.
This soup is very much like that – except for the thick, smooth, creamy, buttery part. Oh, and the bacon.
It does, however, share a freshness bestowed by the mild, delicate flavor of the celery root that balances the comforting texture. It is also a perfect example of garniture: crisp, bright flavors balancing – without overpowering – the soup. As you can see, it is beautiful enough for a special occasion, but simple and hearty enough for a weeknight meal. Fresh harvested celery root, or Celeriac, stores well too, so this soup will take you right through the winter months.
Celery Root Soup with Bacon and Apple
Adapted from Epicurious.com
- 2 strips of thick cut bacon, diced
- 4 shallots, minced
- 1 large celery root, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup cream
- 2 tbs butter
- Sherry vinegar
- 1 tart apple – I love Stayman – cut in thin batons
- 1 rib celery, thinly sliced in half moons
- Celery leaves, chopped
- In 4 quart stock pot, cook bacon, rendering fat and browning. Remove bacon with slotted spoon.
- Sauté shallots in bacon fat over medium heat until soft. Add celery root and cook additional 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add stock to pan and simmer for 20 minutes until celery root is soft.
- Process soup with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot and warm to a simmer.
- Remove the soup from heat and stir in the cream and butter.
- Season to taste with salt, white pepper and vinegar.
- Serve garnished with apple, celery, celery leaves and bacon.