Okay, I guess I’m still in a soup mood. I was actually going to do an oven roasted romanesco with a lebanese garlic sauce, but realized that this was one of the first times celeriac was a sub in the box. Like an early snow for powder hounds, celeriac is the oncoming call of fall varieties. With a warty and mottled exterior hiding a crunchy white interior that turns soft and creamy when roasted, celeriac is a versatile and delicious fall root vegetable.

Shaved or sliced over salads it is crisp and clean with the texture of jicama and a light celery flavor. Roasted, it becomes sweet and rich with a creamy texture and a earthy mellow and rich celery tone. As with many fall root vegetables, celeriac pairs well with just about anything in the season. Roasted squash, yams, parsnips and potatoes all go great in a roasted medley, stew or soup.

For this recipe I wanted just the celery root flavor and decided that the roasting time was worth the result. The easiest way to peel celeriac is with a carrot peeler. Just remove the outer darker skin until you get to the creamy interior. I just cubed them, tossed them in olive oil and put them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were a golden brown (about 30 minutes), and really, you can stop there. Actually, do stop there and eat a few, its worth it, especially dusted with truffle salt.

For the base I found that omitting carrots from my usual mirepoix (which is 1 part onion to 1/2 part celery and 1/2 part carrot) made the fresh celery shine through and add a high note to balance out the celeriac. A bit of black pepper, some roasted garlic I had lying around which added to the roasted richness, but raw garlic sauteed would work just as well, and that’s all. It couldn’t get any simpler. You could also cut some time by pan roasting the celery root in the soup pot, instead of the oven and then adding the rest of the saute ingredients.

2 pounds celery root, cubed and roasted

2 T butter

1 T vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, roasted and minced

4 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

1 t fresh thyme, minced

Salt and pepper

In a heavy-bottomed pot melt butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute until translucent and soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute (if raw), until it becomes fragrant. Salt and pepper and add roasted celery root, garlic (if roasted) and stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Blend in batches until smooth. I added a little truffle salt at the end to bring out the roasted flavor. You could also drizzle with fresh pressed olive oil.

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