“SELL-err-ee-ack.” Not quite.
“SELLer-rack.” Nope, again.
CSAers, if you bail and say, “celery root,” that’s cool. But, judging by our end-of-day swap-box contents, way too many of you also bail on the veggie itself. Maybe you’re lacking celeriac confidence. Maybe I can help.
First: pronunciation. Suh-LAIR-ee-ack. Think Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out—”IN the fall you KNOW you’ll get suh-LAIR-ee-ack ack-ack-ack-ack-ack.” Beautiful.
Second: execution. Make this soup. It’s beautiful, too.
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 small leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
- 2 small celery roots (about 1-1/2 pounds before peeling, yielded 2-1/2 cups diced; if you need a primer on cleaning and peeling celeriac, check out this how-to video)
- 2 celery ribs (with leaves), roughly chopped
- 1 medium, crisp apple, peeled and diced (about a cup)
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced (also about a cup)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- celery leaves, for garnish
Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with the oil, and warm over medium heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt; stir frequently for 3-4 minutes (enjoy the heavenly smell).
Add the diced celeriac, apple, and potato; cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in another pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the stock and water. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer everything for 20-30 minutes, until the celeriac (it’s the toughest and will need to cook the longest) is fully tender.
Purée the soup (if you go the stand-blender route, be sure to vent the steam). Port the soup back into the pot and reheat gently. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasonings (a little white pepper is nice).
Serve garnished with a few of the celery leaves. A crunchy crouton? Sure. And if you miss the dairy (I didn’t), a spoonful of crème fraîche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt will certainly do.
But really, you don’t need to gussy this one up. Simple, here, is just super.