Thick and warming autumnal soup made with celeriac. Fragrant pears add a subtle sweetness, complemented by a delicious walnut garnish. A Dairy-free recipe.
Celeriac is a knobbly root vegetable that comes into season in the autumn. The root tendrils and the thick skin need to be sliced off, which means that about a quarter of the net weight is lost during preparation. It has an anise-like flavour which is similar to celery, and quite distinctive. This makes it ideal for soups and stews, where more delicately-flavoured vegetables can get lost. Unlike most root vegetables, it is not very starchy, so does not need to be cooked for a long time to be made digestible. It can be grated and eaten raw in salads (like in this Carrot & Celeriac Coleslaw recipe), boiled and mashed like potato (like in this Celeriac & Parsnip Mash recipe), or sliced and baked as a gratin to bring out a sweet, nutty flavour (like in this Steak & Kidney Pie with Celeriac Crust recipe).
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I used olive oil)
- 2 banana shallots (130g), peeled and finely chopped
- 2 celery sticks, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large celeriac head (about 1kg net), peeled and chopped into 3 cm cubes
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 litre (1 3/4 pints) homemade chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegan option)
- 3 pears (550g), peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- crushed walnuts
- Heat the cooking oil in a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallots, celery, garlic and salt. Sweat, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the pear (celeriac, thyme, bay leaves, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and stock). Cover, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the celeriac is fork tender – about 25 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Add the pear. Transfer to a blender in batches, and blitz to the smooth puree.
- Transfer the soup back to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve hot, with a sprinkling of crushed walnuts.