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Celery Root Soup with Crispy Shallots

How many times have you passed the vegetable aisle in your supermarket and walked right by the celeriac, without giving it a second thought? This gnarly, under appreciated root vegetable, also known as celery root, deserves some love.

For those of you on a low carb diet, it makes a fantastic substitute for mashed potatoes. Find a recipe for that here. But it also makes a really delicious, velvety soup, that’s perfect for this time of year, when winter’s chill is still upon us. Use chicken stock, as I did, or vegetable stock if you’re a vegetarian. And skip the cream if you’re counting your calories (although it’s a scant 1/4 cup for about four to six servings) But please don’t skip the crispy shallots on top. They really dress it up and make it company worthy.

Everything gets cooked in a pot, then the bay leaf and thyme get removed and the soup is blended until smooth.

You can make this soup and be sitting down to eat it in a half hour start to finish – less time than it would take to get take out from the store.

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Celery Root Soup with Crispy Shallots
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 large celery root (celeriac), about 1 pound, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 2 T. butter
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 apple (I used honey crisp),cored, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or water or vegetable broth)
  • ½ cup white wine (you can use dry or sweet, I used Riesling)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • salt, white pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, optional
  • FOR THE CRISPY SHALLOT:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add the onions.
  2. Cook the onions until they are translucent, then add the rest of the ingredients, except the cream.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until everything is fork tender.
  4. It should take about a half hour.
  5. Remove the thyme and bay leaf from the pot.
  6. Using a blender or stick blender, puree everything until very smooth.
  7. Adjust seasonings if necessary, and add cream.
  8. If soup is too thick, add some water or broth.
  9. If it's not thick enough, continue to cook until the soup is reduced a little.
  10. TO MAKE THE CRISPY SHALLOTS:
  11. Place the olive oil in a saucepan and add the shallots to the cold olive oil.
  12. Turn up the heat and let the shallots fry until crispy.
  13. DO NOT leave the stove because they can easily burn.
  14. The leftover olive oil, once cool, is fabulous to use in salad dressings.
  15. Pour the soup into bowls, drizzle with some of the olive oil and top with the crispy shallots.
 

Sauteed Shrimp With Celery Root And Apple Puree

Sauteed Shrimp with Celery Root and Apple Puree

Pity the poor celery root. Also known as celeriac, it must be one of the ugliest vegetables ever. I mean who wants to even pick up that gnarly tuber with all those nubby, root-like things sprouting all over it, much less cook it and eat it?

Well, I took pity on the sad vegetable and gave it a home in my kitchen. And you should too, if you’re interested in good food and new culinary adventures. It has a subtle celery flavor that pairs with nearly everything. I used only skim milk – no cream or butter in this recipe – yet it had a luscious, silky texture and was a perfect foil for the sauce oozing off the shrimp.

And for those of you avoiding carbs, this puree would be a great substitute for mashed potatoes or polenta, especially nestled beside pot roast or osso buco.

You may end up running for a Band-Aid if you’re not careful when peeling the celery root. I found it safest to trim off the thickest, nubbiest parts with a medium-sized knife in one hand, rather than a vegetable peeler, pressing down on the top of the celery root as it lay on my cutting board, rather than picking it up and trying to trim it in my hand.

Sauteed Shrimp
(serves two)

8 large shrimp
1 shallot, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
salt, pepper to taste
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Saute the shallot and garlic in a skillet over medium heat with the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter, just until softened. Add the shrimp, turning the heat a little higher, and quickly saute on both sides. You don’t want to cook it all the way through just yet, just brown the outsides. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and add the cherry tomato halves to the pan. Cook for another minute or two until the tomato starts to soften. Place the shrimp back in the pan, add the wine and season with salt and pepper. Cook for another couple of minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is reduced. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and swirl around on medium heat until it looks like the sauce has emulsified, or thickened. Add the lemon juice and minced parsley, swirl again over the heat and serve over the celery root puree.

Celery Root and Apple Puree

(Adapted from “A New Way to Cook” by Sally Schneider)

1 celery root, peeled and cubed (about 1 lb. to 1 1/2 lbs.)
3 cups milk (I used skim)
3/4 tsp. freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tablespoons white rice
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
2 teaspoons unsalted butter (I omitted this)

Cook the celery root in a saucepan with the milk, (I used skim milk which works fine, but the original recipe called for 2 percent milk), salt, pepper and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir in the rice, lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apples and simmer for 10 minutes longer, or until the celery root is very tender. (The milk will curdle, but the curds will be incorporated when the celery root is pureed.) Drain the mixture in a colander set over a bowl, but save the cooking liquid.

Puree the celery root in a food processor or blender until perfectly smooth, adding some of the cooking liquid if necessary. Scrape down sides until you have a fine puree. Add the butter if desired, but I left it out and it was delicious with just the drippings from the shrimp sauce. This puree is enough for four servings.