Roasted celery root soup with fresh cracked black pepper

 - by Sarah Lipoff

Roasted celery root soup

It’s been really cold here. Yeah, I live in California, but it’s been really, really cold, which just isn’t right. I moved here so many years ago after a stint of teaching in Duluth, and a childhood in Wisconsin, for the warmer weather. Yes, it rains here during the winter, but it’s usually in the mid 50s to 60′s. The last couple of mornings I’ve woken to frost so thick the tot and I could make snowballs in the morning.

Bah.

When it’s cold I think of soup. Rich, creamy, nourishing soup. Full of flavor and comforting food love, a hearty soup is just the right thing on a winter’s afternoon. I’m all about healthy recipes right now so got out one of my new Calphalon pans and started simmering.

I dug up a celery root the other day at the farm and had a few other ingredients that were perfect for a healthy, cream-free version of a delicious soup that would be perfect for a simple lunch or first dinner course. And you’ll love how versatile this soup is. Toss in cubed leftover chicken, stir in spinach leaves, or top with a slice of toast melted with cheese — just like I did.

Ingredients

1 celery root

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

4 small red potatoes

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

4+ cups water

Fresh cracked black pepper

Directions

If you’re shopping for celery root at your grocery store, you’ll find them tucked around the beets and cabbages. And they aren’t the prettiest things…

celery root

Preheat your oven to 400F and trim the outer skin from the celery root, revealing what looks like an extra large, and roundish, potato. Chop into chunks and place on a sheet pan. Cut the onion into large slices and add to the celery root. Peel the red potatoes, chop, and add to the mix too. Give the garlic cloves a bash, remove the skins, and add along with the vegetable oil and salt. Pop into the oven for 10-minutes.

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After 10-minutes things will just be starting to brown on the edges, creating the really lovely roasted flavor that makes this soup delicious. Give things a toss and then pop back into the oven for an additional seven minutes of roasting.

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Place the butter and tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan and melt together over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and mix together, creating a roux base for the soup.

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Keep a close eye on the butter mixture, continually stirring until things have turned a light brown. Now slowly add the water while whisking.

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Sprinkle in the salt and Italian seasoning and then let come to a simmer…

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Ladle a scoop of bubbling water over the sheet pan and give the celery root, onion, garlic, and potato chunks a stir, releasing any caramelized goodness on the bottom of the pan. Now carefully add the vegetables to the broth and cover, letting the soup simmer for 20-minutes.

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Sure, you could enjoy this soup nice and chunky, but I love a wonderfully smooth soup. In small batches, puree in a blender. Thin with additional water as needed. Season to taste.

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Ladle your soup into a bowl, top with fresh cracked black pepper, and enjoy! This recipes makes just enough for four big bowls of warming winter goodness.

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