The Best Potato Soup Recipe
So. I had a mild culinary adventure this week: I cooked my first celeriac (aka: celery root).
Celeriac is gnarly looking vegetable but, despite its slightly intimidating appearance, it has a very mild flavor (reminiscent of, not surprisingly, celery) and is surprisingly easy to peel and chop (its density is more like a potato than a rutabaga).
If you’re cooking it under dry heat as part of a side-dish (they make a great addition to Neeps and Tatties, for example) I recommend chopping it into large chunks rather than dicing it small, so that it doesn’t lose all of its moisture in the roasting/baking process.
In addition to plans for adding it to my up-coming Solstice feast, I thought that Celeriac would lend a little extra complexity to a traditional leek and potato soup.
Of course, my potato soup isn’t entirely traditional. In addition to the celeriac, I’ve also included white beans, cauliflower, and a pinch of cayenne, to make a sturdy, stick-to-your-ribs meal that’s perfect for December’s blessedly (cursedly?) cold winter days.
You Will Need
- Large pot
- Knife + cutting board
- Blender or Food Processor
- 2L bowl
- Skillet (optional)
- 3 big potatoes, peeled (or not) and diced
- 1 large leek (white part only) diced
- 3+ cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½C celery root, peeled and diced
- 1 tin white beans (navy, white kidney, etc), drained and well-rinsed
- ½ C cauliflower, diced (NOTE: stalks are great for this, frozen is fine)
- Pinch cayenne or paprika
- Black pepper, thyme to taste
- 1 tbsp+ butter (margarine or sesame oil may be used if you want to make this vegan)
- 1 tsp salt
- Water to cover
- OPTIONAL : 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, scrubbed, reconstituted and cut into slivers (plus extra butter/substitute for sauteing)
- Wash, peel and chop all the vegetables (except the mushrooms)
- Drain and rinse the beans
- Put the leeks, garlic, herbs, and beans into the large pot with the tablespoon of butter and saute until the leeks are translucent
- Add the rest of the vegetables (except the mushrooms) and the salt, and fill the pot with water until the vegetables are covered by about an inch.
- Boil until everything falls apart easily (about half an hour)
- In batches, puree the soup in the blender until it is smooth (add each batch to the large bowl while you do the rest)
- Return puréed soup to original pot and heat through.
OPTIONAL : scrub, reconstitute (soak in boiled water for about 5 minutes or until soft and plump), and slice the shiitake mushrooms into slivers. THEN sauté the mushrooms in the skillet, using a little extra butter. Add the sauteed mushrooms to the hot soup just before serving.
Serve and enjoy.
Like most hearty soups, this goes gorgeously well with a slab of hot, whole-grain bread (with or without butter).
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