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Cream of Celery and Celery Root Soup


Serves 4 to 6

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 109

This soup is smooth and delicate, and its elegant celery leaf garnish makes it a perfect first course for a dinner party. Adding celery root (a relative of celery) imbues the soup with even deeper celery flavor.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 cups thinly sliced celery (reserve 1/4 cup celery leaves)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups peeled, small-diced celery root
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 fresh or 1/2 dried bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs. crème fraîche
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Canola oil for frying

In a 4-quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the celery, onion, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until tender and just beginning to color, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the celery root and stir to coat with the butter. Pour in the chicken broth, and then add the thyme, bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf and purée the soup in a blender until smooth. Pass the soup through a medium-fine sieve and transfer to a clean pot. Bring the soup back up to a simmer, whisk in the crème fraîche, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep hot.

Heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a 1-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the celery leaves and cook until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the celery leaves to a plate lined with paper towels.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the celery leaves.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 170, Fat (kcal): 10, Fat Calories (g): 90, Saturated Fat (g): 4.5, Protein (g): 7, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4, Carbohydrates (mg): 15, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 330, Cholesterol (g): 15, Fiber (g): 3,

Photo: Scott Phillips

I had good results with this recipe which I modified only slightly. I sautéed the onions till they began to caramelize then I added the chopped celery and some leeks. The celery root is essential. Use Lurpak unsalted butter and don't skimp with the creme fraiche. I garnished with fresh chives.

I agree with the reviewer who said it was flat tasting, b/c it is. It's not bad but it's just ok. I would not make this again but glad I tried it.

Made this luscious soup yesterday and it was major yummers!!! My guests LOVED it!! I did simmer it a bit longer than the 15min called for in the recipe. I simmered it for 30 min and did add about a cup more of chicken stock and I used an immersion blender and did not use a sieve as I like some texture to my soup. This was a joy to eat!!

I wanted to love it, but I only liked it. It seemed "flat" and was much better after I added a squeeze of lemon.

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