Among the items distributed at our CSA farm this week was a pair of small celeriac bulbs (a/ka/ celery root), with the stalks and leaves still attached. When the bulbs become larger, the stalks become woody but these were still tender. So I made a simple soup, first using the leaves to make a stock, then simmering the chopped-up stalks until tender and finally cooking sliced celeriac and potatoes in the liquid.
I chose the most tender stalks, which were crisp and full of lovely celery flavor. I always like the waste-not-want-not approach to using the whole plant. The pureed root base was delicious, strong but refreshing served with a little cream or milk stirred in and garnished with the reserved stalks and very thin slivers of leaves. If you don’t have celeriac stalks or leaves, you can use the milder Pascal celery from the grocery store.
Celeriac Soup with Stalks and Leaves
2 small bulbs celeriac with the leaves and stalks
1 small onion or leek
1 quart homemade chicken broth or water
3-4 small potatoes
Heavy cream or milk
Trim the stalks and leaves from the celeriac root. Clean and chop the stems, and chop the leaves. Simmer the leaves with the onion in the chicken stock or water until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the leaves and discard. Add the chopped stalks to the broth and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the stalks and reserve.
Meanwhile, trim and peel the celeriac bulb and potatoes and slice them thinly. (They discolor if sliced in advance but you can plunge them in cold water with a little lemon to stop the oxidation.) Bring to a simmer, adding a little water just to cover, lightly salt, and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Puree the celeriac and potatoes and return to the pot. Add cream or milk to thin the soup to taste, adjust the seasoning and add the reserved chopped stalks. Garnish with slivers of the leaves.