A wee while ago, one of my Random Recipe entries was a slightly disappointing celeriac soup. It was just… bland. In that post, I decided to root for (badum-tschhhh! Don’t judge, it’s been a tiring week…) this rather neglected vegetable and would attempt to find a non-bland celeriac soup recipe. Then I moved to NZ and got completely distracted by other things. (Ehm, so when I said that it was a wee while ago, it was actually at least 18 months ago.) The celeriac soup mission was put on hold. Not that it was a mission that I had been taking particularly seriously.
Last weekend I came across some celeriac halves going cheap. It was obviously fate. Or a simple case of an ugly vegetable not getting much love. I bought some, and proceeded to try out a celeriac soup recipe from River Cottage Veg Everyday! which also involved fennel and orange, a combination which intrigued me. It turned out far tastier than that original uninspiring celeriac soup. The fennel adds a slight aniseedy taste (but not overpoweringly so – luckily, because I’m not really a fan of a strong aniseed flavour), and the orange adds some subtle pep. It seems that I’ve solved the bland celeriac soup issue – mission accomplished, hurrah! (Although I’m happy to try out any other interesting celeriac soup suggestions.) I’m still stuck on how to take interesting photos of beige soup though.
Celeriac, fennel & orange soup
Slightly adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday!
If adding more stock or water to smooth the soup out (I should have done this but didn’t), using milk would probably make the soup a little more velvety. I expect that this soup would freeze quite well, just freeze it at the end of step 4, before adding any dairy products.
750g fennel bulbs
250g celeriac (about ¼-½ a celeriac)
4 large shallots or 1 medium onion
Extra virgin olive oil
500ml vegetable stock
5 tbsp crème fraîche, to serve
1. Trim and slice the fennel bulbs, keeping any feathery fronds aside to serve. Peel the celeriac and chop into about 1.5cm cubes (the cubes don’t have to be perfect, but fairly similar is ideal). Peel and slice the shallots (or onion).
2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or pot over a medium heat. Sweat the shallots for a few minutes, then add the fennel and celeriac and stir well. Cover and sweat for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
3. Zest and juice the oranges. Add to the pot along with the stock and some salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 mins until all the vegetables are cooked and tender. Remove from the heat.
4. Blend the soup, either in a food processor or with a stick blender. If the soup is too thick, add a tiny bit of stock or water (mine came out very thick, I should have added a little more stock to it at this point).
5. Reheat the soup if necessary, check the seasoning and serve hot, with a dollop of crème fraîche in each bowl and scattered with any reserved fennel fronds and a good dose of freshly ground black pepper.