Using Creme Fraiche Part IV: Celery Root & Leek Soup

Posted by Stephanie Meyer on Nov 4, 2010 at 8:00pm

You might have passed right by celery root (also known as celeriac) at the store, thinking it looked anything but edible.  I admit, it freaked me out the first time I shopped for it, but I trusted the description I’d read (pleasantly mild celery taste, texture similar to a potato, overall effect of savory, delicious with cream and/or cheese) and went for it.

I’ve been very, very glad ever since.

Despite its gnarly appearance, celery root is quite easy to peel, revealing a pale green interior and a lovely, celery-meets-tarragon fragrance.  Slice it thin and layer it into a gratin.  Or chop and simmer with leeks to make this creamy, luscious soup.

In addition to being delicious, celery root just happens to be a very low carbohydrate vegetable, making it a lovely stand-in for potatoes if you’re mindful of such things (I am).  I topped the soup two ways for the pics – above, with sliced scallions and crispy bacon; below, with a drizzle of walnut oil and toasted walnuts.  If you’re thinking cheese could be happy here, you’re so right…

Did you notice that this recipe provides one more option for using creme fraiche?  Given that it’s 1) magical with eggs, 2) dreamy with fruit, 3) heavenly as a pan sauce, and now 4) divine swirled into soup, let’s make 2011 the Year of Creme Fraiche!

Celery Root & Leek Soup
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 as an appetizer

3 Tbsp. butter
1 leek, pale green & white parts only, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
2 celery roots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
6 c. water or chicken broth
1/4-1/2 c. creme fraiche
freshly ground black pepper

garnish ideas:
crispy bacon & sliced scallions
toasted nuts & a drizzle of nut oil (i.e. hazelnut, walnut)
shredded Gruyere cheese

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter.  Add leeks and garlic, with a light sprinkle of salt, and saute until leeks are becoming tender, about 8 minutes.  Add celery root, nutmeg, and dried thyme.  Stir in the water and 1 tsp. of salt (if using chicken broth, add less salt, to taste).  Bring soup to a simmer, then turn heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 30 minutes or until celery root is very tender.  Puree soup in batches in a blender, then stir back into the pot.  Stir in creme fraiche.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Serve with your favorite garnishes.

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Older Comments

  1. By FreshTartSteph on January 15, 2011 at 12:56PM

    Hey, so cool that they froze it, I haven't done that and am glad to hear it works nicely. Thanks for the note - I need to make a batch myself. Can't get enough soup at this time of year!

  2. By Anonymous on January 15, 2011 at 11:48AM

    This soup is delicious - a few weeks ago I made a big batch for my parents' freezer, and they remind me almost daily that they've exhausted their supply. Thanks!

  3. By Quay Po Cooks on November 10, 2010 at 4:26AM

    I have had leek soup before but never had it with celery roots. The photo of the soup is stunning! Love it!

  4. By FreshTartSteph on November 8, 2010 at 7:48AM

    bigFATcook - Thank you! (Hilarious name!)
    Amanda - You're too sweet for words. This soup is so unbelievably easy, especially compared to the complex and intricate work that you do, you could sneeze and be done with it! :)

  5. By manda2177 on November 7, 2010 at 2:19PM

    Your photography is stunning!! Right out of the most fabulous food magazine. Well, better actually. :)

    I have never cooked with 90% of those ingredients. Ha! Talk bout scary! I am gonna have to come over and just watch you. :)

  6. By bigFATcook on November 6, 2010 at 10:39AM

    How lovely!! :)) Looks good, must be delicious!

    Greets from BFC !!!