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A bad case

For many people, the contents of my grocery basket could be kind of scary. The other day at the market, for instance, I felt as though I owed the cashier an apology when I sent a bulb of fennel, three celery roots, some kale, and a bag of endive down her conveyor belt. The poor lady hardly knew what to make of them. She sniffed a little, nudged them onto the scale, and looked at me pleadingly. It was a rough moment for both of us. I don’t know. Sometimes I think I should start an orphanage for unloved vegetables. My fridge is already halfway there, and anyway, I seem to be destined for it. It just makes me so sad to watch celery roots go spongy on the display shelf, and to see kale swept into the trash can. Heck, if Brandon hadn’t come along to distract me, I probably would have become a happier version of Miss Hannigan, an old spinster surrounded by orphan turnips and rutabagas, spending my days in the service of unwanted roots and greens. They need me. And I’m happy to help – you know, minus the spinster part.

I’ve always been a sucker for the underdog. There were a lot of mean girls in my middle school, so I relate to anything scorned, gawky, or with bad skin. Come winter, that includes a significant part of the produce section. If you’ve been hanging around here for any length of time, you know well how I feel about Brussels sprouts, say, and cabbage, and cauliflower and fennel – things funky or stinky or strong-tasting, things often disliked. I love them. Give me your poor, your tired, your lumpy and ugly and stubborn! I will give them a home. (Even if it is in my stomach, which is admittedly sort of dark and wet.) This week, I’m hosting a few celery roots. First, I tucked them into a warm pot on the stove, then I gave them a ride in the blender, and now they’re resting contentedly in the well of a soup spoon. They’re getting lots of love around here.

Contrary to what its name might imply, celery root is not the root of common celery, but rather its cousin. Also called celeriac – a word that would make a great insult, I think – celery root suffers from what my mother might call “a bad case of the uglies.” It’s dirty and gnarly and bumpy, with hairy little roots along its base. Picture a turnip with a terrible skin disease, and you’re pretty close. But underneath all that lies a lovely, lovely surprise – a flavor similar to celery, but a little milder, rounder, nutty. It’s smooth and dense, a bit like a firm potato, and can be eaten both raw and cooked. The French grate it, toss it with a mayonnaise dressing, and call it céleri rémoulade. Lately, in my house, we’ve been calling it soup.

I’ve made this recipe twice in less than five days, and friends, I can tell you, it’s a keeper. Inspired by a recipe in the New York Times, it’s the perfect antidote to all those early-January afflictions – holiday excess, anemia of the wallet, buffet-table burn-out – and on a particularly sleepy Sunday at home, you could sip it from a mug like cocoa. It’s silky, velveteen even, and best of all, it’s simple as can be: just aromatics, celery root, and broth, cooked and zizzed and finished with a bit of milk and a smidgen of olive oil. I’ve been eating it for lunches at work, but it would make a fancy first course for dinner too, or even a full supper in itself, with a hunk of bread and a few slices of cheese. And as my friend Kate so aptly pointed out, it’s totally today’s “it” color – cream-meets-flax, if you will. For an ugly old thing, celery root cleans up awfully well. If you’ve got any unloved specimens, please send them my way. Or, you know, see for yourself.

Purée of Celery Root Soup
Inspired by The New York Times, December 20, 2006

Don’t let the tough looks of celery root fool you: it’s actually quite easy to work with. First, choose a root that’s roughly baseball-size and that feels firm and hard – never spongy – and heavy for its size. To prepare it, plunk it in the sink and attack it with your vegetable peeler. The smoother, non-rooty end is easy to peel with a few quick, decisive strokes, and then the root end can be trimmed with a sharp knife. You may lose more of the bulb than you might expect – these little buggers can be craggy, calling for some serious trimming. But once the celery root is ready, you’re most of the way there. Before you begin, a few other notes:

- This recipe makes a fairly small batch, so consider doubling it. You won’t be sorry.

- The first time I made this, I puréed it in a food processor, and it never really emulsified properly. I have since found that a blender works much, much better. The starchy quality of celery root seems to demand it. So if you’ve got a blender, use it. [But not an immersion blender – like the food processor, it’s better saved for softer, more yielding things.]

- Lastly, the delicate flavor of this soup begs for a clean, mild broth – and preferably one that’s homemade. If you’ve made some good chicken broth lately, by all means, use that. Or, if not, do as I did this past weekend and make a super-quick, super-easy vegetable version. It takes only an hour and change, and it requires almost no attention. Plus, its gentle onion and leek flavors are lovely in the soup.

2 ½ Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small leek, white part only, coarsely chopped
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 lb. peeled, chopped celery root (from about 3 baseball-size bulbs)
3 cups mild chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade (see below)
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
4-5 Tbs skim milk
Chopped chervil, for serving (optional)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs olive oil. Add the leek, onion, celery, and garlic, and sauté until softened but not browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the celery root, broth, and salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer until the celery root is very tender. It should break apart easily when poked with a fork; on my stove, this takes about 35-45 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat.

Using a blender and working in small batches – when working with hot liquids, never fill the blender more than 1/3 full! - purée the soup until very smooth. Add the remaining ½ Tbs oil and the milk, and stir to incorporate. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Reheat gently until just steaming.

Yield: 4 dainty servings


Basic Vegetable Broth

1 ½ Tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely sliced
1 small leek, white part only, coarsely sliced
½ stalk celery, coarsely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and coarsely sliced
1 large clove garlic, peeled and smashed
8 cups cold water
1 Turkish bay leaf

In a large saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, celery, carrot, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the water and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the vegetables are very soft, about 1 hour. Strain the broth through a sieve into a clean bowl or heatproof container, pressing down on the vegetables to extract all their juices. Let cool, uncovered. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to a week, or freeze for longer keeping.

Yield: About 6 cups, give or take a little


Blogger Eva said...

I have never tried it as a soup - but I love celeriac salad: Cook the whole root, cut it into bite-sized pieces, toss with vinaigrette and lots of onion and let it sit for while. It's a traditional German winter salad and it's awfully good!

9:13 PM, January 08, 2007  
Anonymous Katie said...

Ohh, I'm so with you. I adore weird root vegetables, broccoli was my favorite vegetable as a kid (now I'm more fond of funky colored cauliflower), and I have a bunch of kale waiting for me in the fridge. This soup sounds awesome, I may just have to give it a shot!

9:33 PM, January 08, 2007  
Anonymous Megan said...

Who knew celeriac could be inspirational?

I just wanted to say congrats on the book too. I am a new reader to the blog, but am thrilled for you nontheless. I am sure it will do extremely well.

9:38 PM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger traveller one said...

Having worked as a cashier in a large supermarket, I can empathize with the poor woman who checked your vegetables. There are so many to remember and we always took a deep breath when we spotted unusual vegies coming down the belt. You've described it perfectly! Well done and so amusing :)

11:07 PM, January 08, 2007  
Blogger Pille said...

Ok, once I use up those parsnip roots in the larder, I'll upgrade & move on to celery root!

11:40 PM, January 08, 2007  
Anonymous steph said...

My favorite celery root soup is this.

They're actually very easy to grow, and we've had spectacular results.

2:39 AM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous home cook said...

An orphanage for unwanted vegetables :) Fine. And I don't know what to do with many strange roots. Recently has learned about endives and how to prepare endives. Your soup looks grate. Some of this days I'll try it, I have to.

2:58 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Homesick Texan said...

I have the same problem at my local market with peppers--the cashiers still can't tell a habanero from a poblano. In any case, it must be "obscure root vegetable week" in the blog world, first Matt's parsnips and now your celery root--so many new things to try!

5:53 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Chocoholic said...

Thanks so much for the celeriac recipe! I am joining a local CSA this year and that is one of the items they are growing this year so the more recipes to use it in, the better!

I understand what you mean about the vegetables at the supermarket. Sometimes when I am there, the cashier gets a perplexed look on her face at what I am getting and I have to tell her what the item is.

6:50 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger wheresmymind said...

I go with my food processor for blending soups! My blender is used for pesto and drinks that generally have a small plastic monkay on top ;)

6:55 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Shari said...

hi molly,

the soup sounds good. i'll pass the recipe over to tom as he is in charge of soup at our house. :) i really really love the photo today! xo shari

7:26 AM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger foodiechickie said...

Molly with posts like these I think we are kindred foodies:) Many times I've tried to purchase vegetable that the check out girl just didn't know how to scan and I love that soup. Well worth all the work!

7:45 AM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Your post is great! You totally crack me up :)

12:46 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Scorpio said...

When I lived in Germany, the celery soup was one of my passions. Fabulous stuff!

1:37 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Eva, that salad sounds wonderful. I'll bet it would be especially good with sweet onions like Vidalias or Walla Wallas. Time to go buy more celery root...

Katie, you're doing the vegetable world proud! Do tell: how do you like to prepare your kale?

Thank you, Megan. I have been absolutely blown away by all these cheers and congrats! Really, wow. Thank you.

Thanks, traveller one. I know - that poor cashier! Celery root doesn't exactly fly off the shelves around here - unfortunately! - so I'm afraid I really caught her off guard. Plus, it looks pretty similar to turnips and rutabagas and certain beets. Yikes. She didn't stand a chance.

Ah, parsnips, Pille! Love 'em.

Steph, that soup sounds delicious. I love the idea of the beans and herbs and tomatoes - such lovely flavors together.

Home cook, aren't endives wonderful? I mean, they can be pretty bitter, but with a good dressing - or braised - I could eat them nearly every day. Brandon loves to take a whole one, dip it in vinaigrette, and eat his way down to the last little nub. So tasty.

Homesick Texan, I like this "obscure root vegetable week" thing! Thanks for pointing me to Matt's post. His maple-glazed parsnips look so good.

You're very welcome, Chocoholic. I hope you enjoy your CSA! We did CSA for a couple of months last summer and loved it. Every time we got our weekly box, it felt like Christmas!

Wheresmymind, you're too funny! I usually use my food processor for pretty much everything, but in this case, it just didn't do a very good job. But my blender, oh the blender! It made the soup so smooth.

Shari, the Armenian apricot soup you mentioned in your post today sounds so fragrant and unusual and delicious! You've got yourself a smart soup-maker there. xo!

Foodiechickie, my kindred spirit, I hope you like the soup! I just ate some more for lunch, and it really is nice.

Thank you, Kristen!

Scorpio, you wouldn't happen to know what was in the soup you liked, would you? Ooh, I'd love to know.

4:14 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Grant said...

I'm so into pureed soups recently. And I love the idea of one made from a celery root. I encountered a similar supermarket checker when I was home for Thanksgiving and needed a celery root for the stuffing I was making. Eyes narrowed and nose scrunched as she sneered "What IS that?"

I'm wanting to do more with celery roots now. When I was in England I had an amazing tart that was filled with shredded celery root, leeks and Godminster cheese. I feel like you would have loved it.

5:13 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Mrs. B said...

I've been sneaking root vegetables into recipes for years. My stews rarely contain potatoes. I try for a variety and no one is the wiser, most of the time.

Once caution on using the blender with hot liquids. Only fill the blender 1/3 full at a time. Something about the heat if you fill it too much causes the liquid to propel the lid off the blender when you turn it on, causing nasty burns requiring calendula and a larage sponge to clean up the mess!

5:39 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Erika said...

Thanks for this post! You should have seen the looks I used to get when I was on a kohlrabi kick. I don't have a blender, but do have a food processor, a food mill, and an immersion blender. Has anyone tried it with the food mill or food processor?

My favorite celery root recipe is from Elizabeth David's French Country Cooking-- adapted, of course. Her recipe is called celeriac braised in butter. I cut it into matchsticks on my mandoline, and use 1/4 (baseball-sized celeriac) to 1/2 a stick (softball or bigger) of butter-- melt the butter, add the celeriac, salt and pepper, a little lemon juice, reduce to low, cover, and let it simmer for 30 minutes or more, until tender. It's great as a rice, pasta, or polenta substitute and soaks up the sauce of a stew very nicely. I usually skip the mustard and tarragon vinegar Mrs. David reccomends, but it's very tasty that way, too.

5:55 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Smári said...

I found your blog among the nominees for the food blog awards. I love your writing! Congratulations and best wishes for a very good 2007.

7:25 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Shauna said...

My favorite "funky" vegetable moment recently is when I was in line at a giant chain grocery store (we were running late; it was close), and the cashier looked at our kale triumphantly, and said, "Fennel, right?" Imagine having to disabuse him of his nascent vegetable understanding.

I love celery root. The Chef is serving a smoked duck with mushroom risotto, spinach and celery root, and a blood orange sauce at his restaurant this month. I think you might just love it, my dear.

8:22 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Mindy T. said...

Thank goodness I'm not the only one rescuing the dissed veggies of the world -- especially our rooty friends. Here's to celeriac, parsnips, and beets! Thanks for yet another enjoyable post.


10:11 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous Moss and Stone said...

I must congratulate you on your book deal Molly. I have recently returned from a voyage into the wilds of northern Canada by canoe, and near the end, one of the only things that was keeping me going was the image of making one of the Beet Feta Tarts you provided the recipe for so very long ago.

Glad to be able to check Orangette to fuel the imagination, and the stomach.

10:14 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous rob said...

I love celery root, especially pureed with a lot of butter and cream, though I'll definitely give this soup a try. It is also, by far, the ugliest member of the produce aisle. Let's face it, a celery root most closely resembles the head of one of the sand people from Star Wars.

10:15 PM, January 09, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Grant, tell me more about this tart! It sounds fantastic. Did it have a custard base? And how do you think the celery root and leeks were cooked? And what, pray tell, is Godminster cheese? Inquiring minds want to know.

Mrs. B, you're ahead of the curve! I may follow your lead and start sneaking unusual root vegetables into more soups and stews. They're so delicious! And as for the blender tip, you and I are on the same wavelength - I had already written a warning into the recipe above. It really is amazing how much hot liquids expand in the blender, isn't it? I'm always very careful.

Oh Erika, that celery root braised in butter sounds so good. Brandon was reading your comment over my shoulder, and both of us just oohed and aahed. Can't wait to try it! And as for alternatives to a blender, yes, I have used a food processor for this soup, and it worked alright, but not great. Rather than emulsify the soup into a velvety puree, it sort of left little tiny pieces of celery root suspended in broth. I was surprised, since I use it often for squash purees and soups, but then again, celery root does have a slightly different texture. Either way, yes, you can certainly use your food processor, though the soup likely won't be perfectly smooth. You could also try your immersion blender, though I don't think I'd use the food mill...

Thank you, Smari! So glad you stopped by.

Oh my god, Shauna, that kale / fennel story is priceless! Too good. Poor guy - at least he tried, right? And as for Dan's new creation, a dinner at Impromptu might well be in order! Yes yes yes.

Three cheers for celery root, Mindy! May it be dissed no more.

Thank you, Moss and Stone! Such sweet words. I am so touched by all these congratulations. It's enough for me that I get to write the book, period - all this support and encouragement is deliciously unexpected icing on the cake. Thank you! And as for the beet-feta tart, would you believe that I'd almost forgotten about it? I'm long overdue for one...

And Rob, you're killing me! The sand people from Star Wars? You nailed it.

10:35 PM, January 09, 2007  
Anonymous MichelleSY said...

This comment has nothing to do with your post, but I just visited the WellFed website and I'm just busting to tell you the news!

The site's just awarded you the title of Best Food Blog - Writing 2006!


And as a recent convert to Orangette, may I just say: may this be the first of many =)

9:41 AM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Congratulations on the Food Blog Award!

9:44 AM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous Nicole said...

Congratulations on the Food Blog Award!!

9:57 AM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous TJ said...

Credit where credit is due -- congrats on your award! :-) It sounds like your 2007 is off to a wonderful start!

1:38 PM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Aww, thank you, MichelleSY, Kalyn, Nicole, and TJ! Wow. Thank you, thank you.

4:29 PM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous jenny said...

molly, that is tooo funny about the check-out line! i have had that moment between the cashier so many times, :) *grins*

6:52 PM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger Catherine said...

Congrats on the award! I'm with you on the stinky veg, but I can't stand cooked celery. Is there any hope for me on this soup?

8:02 PM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger sulu-design said...

Ooooh... I just found your blog through The Runaway Penguin, and even though I'm taking a little break from the kitchen to work on a blog project right now, I'm definitely returning to your site - great posts!

7:44 AM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always loved vegetables and "weird" ones the best too. Now I try to interject weird vegetables into meals and get "weird" responses from the hub and two teen sons. Yesterday I was thrilled to serve brussel sprouts with browned butter and shallots and they looked at me like "why?" This soup looks great to try. I've noticed celery root on gourmet restaurant menus a lot in the last few months.

I'm looking forward to your post about cooking lunch for Amateur Gourmet and Craig. It looked great on Adam's blog.

8:00 AM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger christine said...

I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS on a very well-deserved award! Your blog was one of the (if not THE) first food blogs I had stumbled upon and which inspired me to be more adventurous in the kitchen. Thank you so much and all the best to you! :)

8:49 AM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous Katie said...

How do I prepare my kale? I'm still working on a method that I'm in love with, but I've noticed that the more effort I put into it the worse it tastes. The last time I was in a hurry and wasn't able to pay much attention to it, so I just put a tablespoon or two of olive oil in the pan, added some garlic or onion to soften, put the kale in, salt, a little water, and plop the lid on for a few minutes to soften it. I like to serve it with a wedge of lemon, and freshly cracked pepper. Simple and pretty good.

10:49 AM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous veron said...

I'm willing to give celery root a home this winter :D. Your recipe sounds very tasty, I think I'll give it a try this weekend.

11:48 AM, January 11, 2007  
Blogger Scorpio said...

Alas, I don't know the recipe for the celery soup at the guesthaus in Oberammergau. I could likely make something as tasty, but it would be all guesswork.

2:43 PM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous yazmena said...

Hi Molly,

I read about your lunch with Adam and got inspired to try the fennal salad and the lemon chicken. It was a success! Thanks for the inspiration my fiance finished every bite.

6:32 PM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous anna said...

I guess we're just old-fashioned here in Holland, because most of these veggies are standard winter fare. Celery root is part of our classic split pea soup (with leek & potato too) and kale is usually chopped & boiled, then mixed with mashed potatoes (works for most greens) and serves with sausage or cheese if you're veg.

10:57 AM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger Shaun said...

Hi Molly - I seem to have just stumbled upon your blog today, and thought I love surprises/accidents like this, I am miffed at having missed out on the years of your wonderful posts. I love your inviting recipes and the personal (though not arrogant) style of your blog writing. Of course, I can now "catch up", but will do so more seriously upon return from a quick trip to Paris, for which I know you have a special place reserved in your heart.

11:43 AM, January 12, 2007  
Anonymous SeattleDee said...

Loved the description of puzzled cashier and mystery vegies. My recent shopping challenge has been trying to convince Safeway checkers that what I call fennel is what they have to code in as anise. Whatever! it still is essential in potato salad, roasted winter veggies, soup, etc. no matter what the name.

Celeriac's appearance makes it tough to love. Who knew it could inspire soaring prose?!

9:41 PM, January 12, 2007  
Blogger lobstersquad said...

baseball sized? the ones we get here are more like a human head. post-guilliotine, and a few days in the rain, that is. very ugly, but I love them.

2:24 AM, January 13, 2007  
Anonymous dave said...

Beautiful post Molly.

I believe you now have to have that 4 digit produce code too when you approach the cashier. I get the feeling no one really cares about vegetables sometimes.

10:48 AM, January 13, 2007  
Anonymous Britt-Arnhild said...

I'm coming over to help you run that orphanage :-). First thing I will do is to make The Blue Café's Cauliflower Soup.

6:34 AM, January 14, 2007  
Anonymous Laura said...

This soup is delicious. It's freezing cold here in Minnesota right now, and it was the perfect food to lift our spirits. Keep up the good work!

As a side note, I tried to use my vegetable peeler on the first celery root, but then just gave up and started hacking away at it with my chef's knife. Barbaric, yes, but remarkably effective.

6:25 PM, January 14, 2007  
Anonymous ladolcerita@gmail.com said...

I've got this on the burner right now...
I live in a flimsy 1960s low-rise apartment building and the stairwell always smells like everyone's dinner (and not usually in a good way, mind). This afternoon my next-door neighbour/stranger knocked on my door to ask what I was making, because it smelled great. And that was just the stock! This particular neighbour is also a 20-ish guy with a hoodie and a skateboard. Wow. (soup, not neighbour).

11:29 PM, January 14, 2007  
Blogger Tammy said...

Made this soup over the weekend. It's excellent. Makes great baby food, too. Thanks, Molly.

7:00 AM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger d. chedwick bryant said...

when i was a child, it seemed that al grownups knew what Parsnips and Rutabaga were but then people really did more homemade stewing and souping back then i guess (?) anyway, when i buy root veg now, the check out person acts like
a. i am buying plutonium
b. i am a crazy vegan type weirdo health nut who munches on these things like they are apples.
c. i must be smart if i know what these roots actually ARE and how they are used.
d. i need to hear a monologue on why they (the checkouter) would never eat this stuff.

12:17 PM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Susan said...

Molly, your post is so funny because it's so true. I can't tell you how many times the cashier has held up a head of radicchio and asked, "red cabbage?"
Congratulations on the award! Your blog clearly stands out.


3:43 PM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Julie said...

Love celery root. Love, love, love it. For years, I made a wonderful soup from Sally Schneider's cookbook The Art of Low-Fat Cooking, which, despite its name, is chock-full of great culinary ideas. Her winter root-vegetable soup had more or less the same ingredients as your Times recipe, minus the celery stalks and garlic, and with the addition of a potato and a parsnip as well as a hearty grating of nutmeg, which is fantastic here. The flavor was complex but subtle, and totally addictive. I'm marching right over to the bookshelf to look that one up once again and restore it to the repertoire. As long as it's all pureed, G will never know what hit him.

4:31 PM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Time to Cook said...

I'm so thrilled to find your blog. It looks just fabulous! I look forward to reading and learning more.

7:22 PM, January 15, 2007  
Blogger Sara said...

Gorgeous post - and I'm totally with you on the unloved veggie orphanage campaign... My latest protégé has been cauliflower. I've been craving it like mad. But I often find myself protecting the likes of brussel sprouts & celeriac: "oh, give it a chance! I bet you've never had it prepared properly! or fresh."

Anyway, loved your post :)

11:20 PM, January 15, 2007  
Anonymous Kate said...

Ditto Sara's cauliflower craving lately--I've made two soups in one week! Next up is roasting.

Re. Under-loved vegetables, I feel like they have really been taking off in the last couple years. Enough restaurants are serving celeriac, cavolo nero, parsnips, etc that they seem to be returning to the mainstream. I'm currently obsessed with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, various kales and chards, etc. My local food coop is pretty well stocked but I can't get cavolo nero, which makes me so sad! Just last night I asked the produce guy if we could get some in; I'm craving a risotto I had in Italy a couple years ago made with it (it's black (or dinosaur) chard) and gorgonzola. Mmmm.

10:06 AM, January 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is Orangette great? Why have I made at least 3 of her dishes without hesitation: cranberry relish, chicken and rice noodle salad, and now, this soup. Because the cooking is seasonal- the ingredients Molly writes about always seem to be looking best right about now. Her recipes look simple to execute and promise to be yummy and satisfying. She makes me want to cook, and I inevitably enjoy the process and the result! That is why this blog is good, and why I am thrilled for Molly- for your book deal, for you finding love, for you following your heart's delight- cooking and writing, without knowing where it would lead. Cheers! lydia

6:07 PM, January 16, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi there, friends. I'm so sorry for falling behind in replying to your comments! My mom was in town for some intensive wedding planning, and it ate up the entire weekend - plus some! But I am thrilled to hear that you've been making and enjoying the soup - hip hip hooray! Look at all this love for the lowly celery root! You're doing me proud. Thank you.

4:09 PM, January 17, 2007  
Anonymous marty said...

I made this last night and loved it. Thanks so much for the recipe!

7:18 AM, January 22, 2007  
Blogger Susan said...


Your post inspired me to do a cruciferous vegetable make-over which is currently on my blog. Just wanted to thank you.

Brussels sprouts on Botox

7:06 AM, January 28, 2007  
Blogger Tom said...

Molly, oh, Molly. Not only is this soup magnificent (tonight with tenderloin and blue cheese biscuits), it matches the kitchen tiles precisely! Beautiful in every way.

6:09 PM, January 28, 2007  
Anonymous Ray said...

Hi Molly, Thanks for your inspiration. I moved from Portland, Or to Dresden Germany and I found all of these wonderful root vegetables that I had never encountered before. It is great to try and find out what they are and cook with them. The celeriac root is called a Knollensellerie. I changed the soup recipe, by adding a fennel bulb and a kohlrabi it tastes super. Ray

7:30 AM, February 01, 2007  
Blogger Caterine said...

i LOVE so much the picture you choose for this post ... and the recipe sounds yummy!

12:33 PM, February 05, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Thanks for all the wonderful feedback, Marty, Susan, Tom, Ray, and Caterine! Reading comments like these makes me so happy. Thank you.

8:29 PM, February 05, 2007  
Anonymous RITA said...


3:16 AM, February 08, 2007  
Blogger Chelsea said...

This is a yummy recipe by itself... I wanted to try adding some spices to this, however, and found I like it with a little cumin and/or coriander.

I've been reading your blog since last summer, Molly, and just love your posts! Entertaining with really great ideas!

5:32 PM, February 10, 2007  
Anonymous Megan said...

Simply: yum. Molly, you have introduced me to my new favorite soup. Thank you.

12:26 PM, February 14, 2007  
Anonymous john said...

hey i love the article about the celery root.. i was faced with a food challenge today and celery root and salsify were in my blind ingredient basket.. i had never worked with either before.. so i failed the challenge. what kind of stuff can u do with salsify? i thought about a roasting and maybe a pesto, but i was afraid to mess it up or use the wrong flavors with it. please help. tynisuicide@hotmail.com

10:46 AM, May 21, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Gosh, John, you've stumped me. I've never worked with salsify either. Harumph! But I just did a quick Google search, and I found this, which might be helpful. Better luck next time!

9:02 AM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger MissE said...

MOLLY, MOLLY, MOLLY!!! isn't it wonderful how the simplest of ingredients can be so sinfully delectable????

the boyfriend and i are members of gypsy here in seattle, and a while back we had these celeriac cappuccinos that made us swoon...i made this soup recipe tonight and it was heavenly!!! maybe even better than Gabriel Claycamp's celeriac capps!! thank you!

7:26 PM, December 12, 2007  
Anonymous Anna S. said...

Hi Molly! I tried this on recommendation from your most recent post, and *adore* it. I have a huge pot sitting in the fridge right now (the only celery roots I could find were closer to super-softball size than baseball), and have been eating it along. The texture really is indescribably fabulous: just the thing on a cold winter night, with my favorite apple slices and cheddar on the side. I was wondering, though: have you tried any other root vegetable with this recipe instead of the celery root? Maybe turnips? Parsnips? If so, how did that turn out? I'm thinking of trying it with turnips next (which are much easier to find in my area than celery root).

2:46 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Molly said...

Anna S., I'm so glad you like the soup! To answer your question, no, I haven't tried it with any other roots. But if you do, will you let me know how it turns out? It's such a basic soup that I would think it should work with most anything, not just celery root...

6:47 PM, December 15, 2007  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

I've had roasted celery root before, but since I'd never tried it in a soup, I thought I'd try this tonight. I only used one celery root (baseball-sized) because they were so expensive, and there were no leeks at the store this week, so I skipped that too. I added a parsnip, then topped the soup with homemade pumpernickel croutons and some chopped celery. It was excellent! The pumpernickel really matched the soup well, and the celery gave it a little texture and crunch. My husband inhaled three bowls in about five minutes.

I'll take Anna's suggestion of cheddar and apples on the side next time; it sounds great. Thanks for the recipe!

5:39 PM, January 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anna S. said...

Okay, I tried this one with turnips a few days ago. In place of the celery root here, I used 2 medium sized turnips. I peeled the turnips (one advantage: they're a LOT easier to peel than celery root) and cubed them just like one would cube the celery root. The resulting soup was near-identical in texture to the original, but the color was different. It was a tan-ish brown instead of the pale green version that the celery root produced. That's to be expected, I suppose. As far as taste goes, the turnip flavor was a little pronounced, but it really wasn't bad. Ordinarily, I don't much like turnips, but I simmered the soup for about three hours before pureeing, and the flavor mellowed out and smoothed into something different than what I usually associate with turnips. It was still earthy, and you could tell that you were eating root vegetable, but it didn't scream 'TURNIP!' to me, as many turnip dishes do. Overall, I think I liked the celery root version a little better, but the turnip version was very successful. I tested it on my family (who were visiting over Christmas), and my mother liked the turnip version better than the celery root version, so they were close enough that the difference may come down to personal taste. I would certainly make it again (there are a few turnips waiting in my crisper as I type), and I'm thinking about topping it with cheddar or Parmesan next time: it seems like it might take the cheese flavor well.

1:24 PM, January 02, 2008  
Anonymous baltimoregon said...

Thanks! I had a bowling ball-sized celeriac sitting in the crisper but didn't know what to do with it. This was a soothing Sunday evening soup. Loved the velvety texture: http://baltimoregon.wordpress.com/2009/02/24/a-simple-celeriac-soup/

3:18 PM, February 28, 2009  
OpenID thirtyaweek said...

Thanks for your comment! I kinda of want to make this soup now - but it will be 80 this weekend!

9:04 AM, April 23, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an over abundance of celery root from our CSA and made this soup. Everyone loved it. We had it for one meal just as your recipe was written. For the next meal I added some seafood to the soup(bay scallops,shrimp & surimi). It was delicious. Made a lovely dinner.

8:50 PM, October 22, 2009  
Anonymous Jen Rose said...

We received 6 bulbs of this curious veggie in our organic food co-op share and I had to google what it was and how to make it - trying this soup 2nite!! Thanks so much!!

12:36 PM, December 07, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


5:38 PM, December 27, 2010  
Blogger Drew said...

Just tried this for the first time the other day, inspired by this post and an article about root vegetables in the last food issue of the New Yorker---it was great! Will definitely be making again. Loved the smell of the celery root when dicing it...filled up the whole house.

4:50 PM, April 26, 2011  
Blogger Yelli said...

My whole family was blown away by this soup. My 5YO and 1YO both had seconds leaving no seconds for the DH and I. :(

I didn't have enough celery root so I add one baked potato at the end and we also added chopped parsley instead of chervil. This was marvelous. The color was gorgeous and the texture was wonderful. I would also add that using a hand blender made it extremely easy to blend in the pot instead of blender/food processor.

Another recipe hit that the whole family enjoyed!!!!

7:11 PM, February 01, 2012  
Anonymous Arielle said...

"see kale swept into the trash can"
oh, how times have changed!!!!

10:33 AM, November 12, 2015  

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