Recipes – № 7
Celeriac Apple Soup with Pancetta
If you’ve never tasted celeriac, this gnarly, indiscriminate-looking root that clings to the dirt would probably be the last vegetable in your CSA box you’d cook up. However, celeriac, or celery root, has an unusual and complex flavor profile that works well in soups, purees and even fried or raw. My favorite recipe for celeriac is this soup, which lightens the celeriac’s earthiness with some apples and is pureed until silky smooth – perfect for a cold day. I like it so much that I actually seek out celeriac at the farmers market, a real Cinderella moment for this ugly brown root.
I originally found this recipe on epicurious and adapted and simplified it a little for my taste.
2 – 2 ¼ lbs smaller celeriac (measuring about 5 inches in diameter). Larger roots would yield more peeled celeriac, so you’d need a bit less.
4 medium-small apples. For some reason I’ve always made this recipe with gala apples, which are moderately sweet and acidic and it turned out perfectly, but you could probably use an equivalent quantity of any other apple variety.
1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade
Some chives for garnishing
Some diced pancetta for garnishing
Acidulate one large bowl of cold water with the juice from the lemon. Peel celeriac with a knife and dice ½ inch thick. You should have a little over 1 lb or approximately 4 cups. Place diced celeriac in the lemon water to prevent oxidizing. Peel, quarter, core and dice the apples ½ inch thick and add to the lemon water and celeriac. Drain the celeriac and apples and sauté with the onion and some salt (depending on how salty your broth is) in 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pot for 15 minutes. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and simmer covered over low heat for around 30 minutes.
While the soup cooks, cut some pancetta into ¼ inch cubes and fry in a pan until crispy. Separate the pancetta cubes from the liquid fat and place on a paper towel. Wash, dry and chop the chives.
When the celeriac is soft and can be easily squashed with the back of a spoon, transfer the soup to a blender, working in batches if necessary (or use an immersion blender). Add a glug of olive oil and blend until smooth. Transfer back into the rinsed pot, salt to taste and serve sprinkled with some crispy pancetta and chopped chives.
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