Well, this delicious celeriac and hazelnut soup should be the first to make it here anyway.
I truly enjoy this wonderful root vegetable packed with nutty flavours. If it is anywhere on the menu when I eat at restaurants or cafés, I am almost certain to order it. I know that if you look at it in its raw and unpeeled form, it does not look especially appealing but it is worth trying a few recipes with it, including this soup.
At the time, it was probably the only dish made with celeriac that I knew. But since then, I have savoured it in various dishes from velvety soups to smooth purees to accompany perfectly cooked scallops, and even served thinly sliced and pickled with delicious salads.
The following soup happens to be of the velvety kind. You will note in the recipe that I use water in lieu of vegetable stock. I really wanted the flavour of the celeriac to be the star here and it really showed. The roasted hazelnuts sprinkled on top add to the nuttiness of the dish.
I usually serve soups with buttered crusty bread but with this celeriac version, Irish brown bread works really well (you can either find it where you live or just make a batch at home).
Do you like celeriac? What are your favourite recipes to make with this unusual vegetable?
Ingredients (serve 4 people)
2 shallots (sliced)
750g celeriac (peeled and cubed)
250g potatoes (peeled and cubed)
100g double cream
60g blanched hazelnuts
To serve: extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).
Put the butter in a large saucepan (or soup pot) over a medium heat. When melted and sizzling, add the sliced shallot and stir for 3 minutes. Add the cubed celeriac and potatoes, season with salt, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Pour in the water (it should cover the vegetable pieces) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes (check that the celeriac and potato cubes are tender).
3. While the soup is cooking, pour the hazelnuts onto a baking tray and place on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Roast for 10 minutes until they are light brown. Set aside to cool down and roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts before serving.
4. When the soup is cooked, remove a few ladles worth of the liquid and keep it aside in a bowl. Stir in the double cream and mix the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Add some of the liquid back in and stir after each time until you are happy with the consistency (some of us like thick soup, some prefer it thinner). Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Put back on medium heat for a few minutes before serving.
Divide the soup between 4 bowls. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on the top, sprinkle with the chopped roasted hazelnuts and serve with buttered crusty bread or Irish brown bread like I did. Et voilà!