Getting close, aren't we. This evening I wanted something with a very simple flavor to follow the complexity of yesterday's gumbo. My friend Heather, on one of our weekly walks around Greenlake a few weeks back, mentioned making celery root bisque the night prior and my interest was piqued. She sent along the recipe and I have been waiting for just the right night to prepare it. Tonight was the night. Celery Root, sometimes called celeriac (which sounds like either an infectious disease or the cure for one), is one of those bizarre vegetables 98% of us walk by without noticing it. Sitting innocently by the turnips and beets it somewhat resembles a hairy hand with the digits cut off. Yeah, it's ugly, really ugly. It has a mild celery smell and flavor, and is a little sweeter than celery. It is actually not the root of the celery we make ants on a log out of, instead it is a different kind of celery cultivated for the root. Unlike other root vegetables (potatoes, beets) celery root is relatively low in starch. You can eat it raw (like jicama) but also make soups and gratins out of it. I had never had it before tonight, and I was very pleased with the subtle smell that the cooking produced. The soup was very light, I would recommend it as a first course or along side a substantial side (we had garlic bread, yumm!).
Celery Root Bisque
2 tbsp butter
2 leeks, sliced and well rinsed
3 celery stalks, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 lb celery root (celeriac), peeled and cubed
3 small light skinned potatoes, cubed
splash of lemon juice
5 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup lowfat milk
salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp scallions, finely chopped
Place celery root and potatoes in cold water with a few drops of lemon juice. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add leeks, celery stalks, and garlic. Cook until leeks are soft, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, celery root and potatoes (draining soaking liquid). Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat & simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Puree and bring the soup back up to heat. Add milk and salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with scallions.