I made this soup for my family on Thanksgiving and they loved it! Celery Root, or Celeriac, is a fascinating vegetable! Don’t let its ugly appearance turn you off…it is delicious and a great seasonal winter vegetable. It is the root of the celery plant, so it has that celery flavor to it, but it cooks up just like any other root vegetable (potatoes, turnips) and it has only a tiny amount of starch! You can substitute it anywhere that you would use a potato, especially mashed, for a much healthier side dish with all that silky, creamy flavor! Unlike potatoes, celery root should be refrigerated and will keep for about 2 weeks. And since we are always flirting with new and interesting flavors, we added the pear to sweeten up the soup. Enjoy this recipe at your own holiday celebrations and Flirt with Flavor in your kitchen!
CELERY ROOT SOUP WITH PEAR AND PANCETTA
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ pound pancetta, finely diced
3 pears, peeled and diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, carefully washed and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium celery root, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon sugar
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and stems discarded
4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat for a minute, and then add oil. Give oil a few seconds to heat up before adding pancetta. Cook, stirring, until pancetta is very crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove pancetta and let drain on paper towels. Add 2 of the diced pears, carrots, leek, garlic, and celery root to the pancetta fat in the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
In a separate skillet, melt the butter. Add the remaining pear and the sugar, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until nicely browned and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the thyme and chicken stock to the stock pot and increase the heat. Bring the soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Purée the soup using your preferred method, either with a blender or food processor. Divide soup amongst serving bowls, and garnish with pancetta and caramelized pears.
To sample more of my tasty winter recipes, sign up for my January cooking class, Healthy Cooking for the New Year, on January 17th and 18th. This class is discounted 40%…..From $150 to $90! My New Year’s gift to you! You will savor a cocktail and six appetizers, as you watch me prepare and teach you secrets to staying healthy. Click HERE to register.