Recipe contributed by chef Alice Waters, Chez Panisse
When you buy fresh food that’s in season today, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which helps protect everyone’s food supply for tomorrow. A lot of energy is wasted trying to grow food in the wrong place or at the wrong time of year, but by educating yourself, you can make the smartest choices for your location and budget.
Celery root is in season throughout the fall and winter. This easy-to-prepare and delicious soup is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
- 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 1 large or 2 small leeks, washed, sliced, rinsed, and drained in a colander
- 2 medium celery roots (about 1 pound), peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise, and sliced crosswise
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 3-4 celery stalks, strings removed, finely diced
- 1 cup bite-size pieces of country-style bread (crusts removed)
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of butter. When melted, add the diced onion, the bay leaf, and the thyme sprigs. Cook until the onion is soft, without browning, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the leek and celery root. When the onions are soft, add salt to taste, stir well, and add the leek and celery root. Cook, stirring now and then, until the celery root begins to soften, about 7 minutes. Then add 5 cups vegetable broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until celery root is quite soft, about 20 minutes. While the soup is cooking, blanch the diced celery stalks in salted water for 1-2 minutes (until translucent green but still crunchy), drain, and spread on a plate to cool. Next, toss the bread pieces with 2 teaspoons of melted butter, spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 F until crisp and golden, about 12 minutes. When the soup is ready, remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf and purée in a blender. Taste and add salt as needed. If soup is too thick, thin with chicken stock or water. Serve in warm bowls with the diced celery and croutons.
Yield: about 2 quarts