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Friday, November 11, 2011

Celeriac Sunbreak Soup

As I said, yesterday was the last day of the food pantry Veggie Education stint so high on fresh, local, seasonal produce and basking in the absolutely beautiful autumn weather, I took a day off from work and went to one of our local farmers markets at Brooklyn Borough Hall. (I guess most of you aren't local, but I thought that was a nice, helpful map - and I'm surprised at how many markets are year round!)
It was smaller than the one I usually go to in Union Square, but I was able to find just what I was looking for - and not be swamped by crowds:

Woot, what beauties! I do love the gnarly veggies. I got celeriac, yukon gold potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, and an onion. They're in a tin because that's what I brought the loaves to the pantry in and it was taking up space in my bag. As I sat in the sun, transferring the veggies from a bag to the tin, a woman sat next to me and asked how I use celeriac. We had a nice little discussion and I was so happy because that's exactly what the Veggie Education was all about! Sharing enthusiasm for and love of vegetables! Sharing recipes and knowledge! Making the world a better, healthier place!
So, how do you use celery root?
The recipe I had in mind was Andrea's Sunbreak Soup. Her description of the Seattle weather is quite lovely and, having never been there (but I'm dying to someday), I recreated her soup in hopes of a taste of the Pacific Northwest.

I threw in some extra carrots, along with cabbage, celery and onion mostly because we don't have vegetable broth and I wanted to boost the flavor. I also added a couple generous splashes of vermouth, though I'm not sure it really did much. The soup is wonderful: peppery and sweet, and creamy without being heavy. I like my pureed soups pretty thick so this is also very filling. Also, even without a pressure cooker, this was fairly quick to prepare.
Yesterday I had it plain with sriracha and today, I added the last of the baked seitan sausages from a couple weeks ago. Steamed broccoli on the side. It was the perfect meal to come home to now that one day later is much colder than yesterday's sun! I can see infinite add-ins with this soup but it is also wonderful simply highlighting the oft overlooked celeriac. Thanks, Andrea! (You may also recognize an upcoming recipe using the rutabaga.)
Anticipate seeing a lot more of this soup this week...
Any favorite vegetables that don't get enough love? I did see some kohlrabi at the market today. Can't say I've ever used that though.


  1. Looks like a good soup and I love how freely you use sriracha! I'm a big fan of spice too. Sounds like the food pantry experience was really nice for you and it's definitely a bummer that it had to end for the season but at least you had a great time with it! I wish we had something like that around here.

  2. There's lots of celeriac at our farmer's market these days--this would be a great use for it! I too am a full-on sriracha junkie!

  3. I've never used celeriac or kohlrabi before. Gotta get on that. And I love the random food conversations with people, recently it was selecting avocados, and there was this disgruntled man on the phone with who I imagine was his wife, trying to differentiate cilantro from parsley. Hooray veggie education. :)

  4. I just read Andrea's post on her soup. I never even knew what celeriac is. I guess I need to make a trip to a farmers market. I never think to go this late in the year.

  5. Gorgeous veggie haul! I loved Andrea's post and how she tied it in with the climate so poetically. Adding vermouth sounds good too. The soup is a lovely color, which is very important the world of soup in my humble opinion.

  6. PS I'm going to call you the Vegetable Docent from now on :).

  7. Of the five you mentioned, I'm clueless on the preparation of rutabaga, celeriac, and parsnip. Hopefully when you use the other two, you'll post a picture or recipe?? Please?! :)

  8. Thanks for the mention of my soup! I love that you added stuff to the soup! That's what recipes are for, really, to be the basis of inspiration. I hardly ever make the exact same thing twice. You're right about it being filling but still light. Although it wasn't in the photo, my soup was generously streaked with sriracha, too.

    My husband loves kohlrabi raw in salads, but can't say I've ever been too excited about it. I love turnips, though, and they have a similar flavor. I don't think I like rutabaga unless it's mashed with potatoes, but I should give it another try, since tastes can change over time.

  9. VAVA, yeah, it was really nice! You don't often post soups, do you? Is that because you have such long work days without being able to heat it up? So sad!

    Stacy, I also saw a nice recipe for grated celeriac and apple salad. I bet it'd be great with some of that grainy BEST MUSTARD IN THE WORLD you just bought. I accept the deeming of Vegetable Docent!

    Allysia, actually, cilantro and parsley confuse me sometimes too. Those over the phone trying to figure out what it is the person wants conversations crack me up!

    Jenny, I am clueless as to weather in Arkansas. I'd be curious to hear if your farmers markets carry celeriac!

    Rose, I agree about the color, especially with pureed soups since that's about all the distinction they have going for them (photographically.)

    Ingrid, I have great plans for the rest of the parnsips, so I will have some of that for you definitely - and the rutabaga. Rutabagas are a lot like turnips, if you've eaten those. All three of them are sort of similar in that they make a great mash. There's also a quinoa-kale soup in Appetite for Reduction (which I think you have?) with parsnip in it - it's great in most soups.

    Andrea, thank you! I try to make a recipe as printed once and then changing it the second time, but sometimes I can't help myself. Luckily, with a soup, there's so much leftover to experiment with.
    I'll have to try the kohlrabi!

  10. I haven't heard of celeriac of before but I'm almost certain I have seen it in the grocery store. I always kind of walk by warily and look at it like "what the eff is that?"

    I was never a fan of parsnips but that soup looks really thick and yummy! I thought it was applesauce at first. Thick soups are always the best.

  11. I used kohlrabi once and it was a lot of work for just a so-so veggie.

  12. Some of my favorite root veggies, all in one bin! That soup looks so thick and satisfying, I want to put a pot on the stove to whip something similar up right now.

  13. Ok, I have got to move! We don't have any off those veggies where I live, which totally stinks! I saw Andreas soup the other day and thought it sounded good. Yours sounds and looks great too! I'm going to have to spend more time in the produce section the next time I go to WF's.

  14. I also read and enjoyed Andrea's post. That soup looks so darn good, I may just have to make it!

  15. Isobelle, celeriac has feelings too!

    S&S, too bad! The stir fry looks great, though.

    Hannah, all root veggies are so great. Still thinking of yr celeriac cupcakes!! You're brave!

    Michelle, hehe, but WE don't have space for a garden here like you do.

    BM, I'm sure your five hungry vegans would approve. Who wouldn't, with the promise of strudel cake afterwards?

  16. Beautiful haul of Root Veggies.

    Hopefully, your sister will bring back a fancy silver soup spoon for you from Spain. The plastic orange ice cream scoop conflicts with the Ah Nature! Rejoice! tone of the post.

  17. Haha, Shen, true true. I am so unbelieveably lazy that whatever spoon I stir with, I eat with no matter how large.


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