Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Celeriac and Watercress Soup

Celeriac is in vogue at present. It's as if it never existed before but now it is rare not to find it popping up in all types of restaurants. I first discovered celeriac when I was a student in search of healthy chips (or crisps as they are called in the UK). I love celeriac roasted or pan fried but today I wanted something extra healthy and very tasty. It is hard to beat this soup for both purposes.

I guess some people can be put off by the very sight of a whole celeriac. To be honest it does look a little intimidating with its rough skin and its wrinkled appearance. Knowing how to cut and prepare it is so important. I will come to that bit later.

3 cups of home made chicken stock
1 celeriac
1 bunch of fresh watercress (keep a little over to dress your soup later)
3 shallots cut small
1 onion cut small
1 leek cut small
2 garlic segments  (roasted if you can)
15g grated Parmesan
Kettle of boiling water
Sea salt and black pepper to season

In a large soup sauspan add a little oil and fry all the onions, leek and garlic until soft and translucent. Add the chicken stock to the saucepan. While the onions are cooking, cut up the celeriac. The best way to do this is first cut the celeriac in half and then place the cut side down on the cutting board and using a large vegetable knife, slowly remove the skin as you move the vegetable around as in the photo below:

Once the skin is removed, cut the celeriac into single segments and then again into cross segments which leave you with celeriac fingers! When you have both halves cut, add the celeriac to the large soup sauspan with the onions, garlic and leek and add boiling water to cover the vegetables whilst bringing to the boil. The celeriac will cook in 10 minutes so when soft, remove from heat. Add the watercress at the last minute and mix into the soup. Using a portable food blender, blend the soup until  all the ingredients are soft and soup like. You will be left with a very beautiful green soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dress each serving bowl with a few sprigs of watercress and/or a teaspoon of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.