Yesterday the mister decided to surprise me with a nice afternoon tea – 3 or 4 different types of sammiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and some lovely fruit tartlets.  So, we curled up on the sofa with our booty and watched Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps – the flick was all right but the tea was FANTASTIC!

At any rate, I had originally planned to make canneloni last night, but, needless to say, after our afternoon indulgence (“committing carbocide,” as a coworker puts it), a big pasta dinner just was NOT going to happen.  So, I thought “something light” … a nice easy soup … that would work.  Now, I’ll be honest – when I first saw this recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittinstall’s “River Cottage Everyday“, my first reaction was “meh.”  It just seemed like it would be so bland, that it would be a “why bother” kind of meal.

I was oh-so-wrong!  Not only is the soup NOT bland, it’s velvety, it’s filling, it’s warming and it’s just gorgeous.  I think that sometimes my love of spicy food like Tex-mex and curries blinkers me to the joys of a simpler palate.  I guess the world would be a boring place if everything was painted red … sometimes you need a dish with subtler, lighter flavors that doesn’t beat you about the head with heat and spice. 

Oh, and did I forget to tell you that it’s also EASY and, at about 20 minutes of cooking time, it’s rather fast.  Just what you want when you’re having a lazy sofa weekend!

Celeriac Soup

  • glug or 2 of olive oil
  • 1 large celeriac (somewhere around 1 to 1 1/4 pound), peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large leeks, white and light green parts, cut into 1/2″ discs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and microplaned
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large potatoes (floury ones), peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche (optional)

In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, celeriac, onions, garlic and leeks, stirring to coat with the oil, then season well with the salt and pepper and cook for 5 or so minutes, until the onions and leeks start to soften.  Add the potatoes, parsnips and broth, then raise the heat to the boil before lowering to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or so, until everything is fork-tender.  Either use a blender to blend it smooth in batches or use your submersion blender.  Taste for seasoning.  If the soup is too thick for you, add a little broth until it reaches the consistency you like.  Then, before serving, swirl in the creme fraiche (it adds a really nice touch of creamy tanginess).

from humble ingredients comes a stonking good soup!