Friday, January 11, 2013

Whole Foods Friday: It's Celery Soup!

In cold weather, there's not much better than a bowl of soup. The great thing about soup is that it's so versatile  It can be light or it can be hearty. It can be meaty or it can be meat-free. It can be an appetizer or a meal. It can be planned or it can be a clean-the-refrigerator free-for-all. It can be served plain, or it can be garnished.

I'm pretty sure I could eat soup every day of the week and not get tired of it.

The first soup today is all about celery, but it’s not a one-note soup. Celery root and celery stalks taste similar, but they’re not the same. The root is almost potato-like in texture, and one of my favorite things to do is add it to mashed potatoes. But this time, it’s the base of my soup.

There's no sense telling you that you need a certain amount of celery root. My experience is that they'll all be about the same size at the store. Sometimes they're a little bigger, sometimes they're a little smaller. Buy one. It will be fine.

Cream of Celery Root Soup with ... Celery

1 celery root
1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 cups milk
Nutmeg, grated
Celery leaves, for garnish

Peel the celery root and cut into cubes. Add water to cover the celery root and add the salt. Cook until the celery root is fork tender.

While the celery root is cooking, melt the butter in a saute pan and add the celery. Cook, stirring as needed, until tender.

When the celery root is cooked, drain the water and puree the celery root using a stick blender. Add the milk, taste for seasoning, and add more salt, as desired. Cook on low to warm the milk. If you prefer a slightly thicker soup, you can cook on low to reduce it a bit more. If the soup seems grainy rather than smooth, puree again with the stick blender.

Add the cooked celery along with the butter in the pan. Stir to combine. Add the merest whisper of nutmeg - it's a strong flavor, so you don't want to add too much.

Serve hot. Garnish with the celery leaves.

For more info about Whole Foods Friday, check out the tab at the top.