A wonderfully earthy, urbane soup, simple and sophisticated. It’s the epitome of summer, with layers of flavor that are greater than the sum of their parts.
I grew up on Campbell’s Cream of Celery Soup. It was always in the cupboard, because I put it in Mom’s shopping cart every Saturday at the local market.
Combined with the cream-rich milk that Mom bought from a one-woman dairy nearby, it was more like a velvet cream sauce than soup. I loved its subtlety, AKA barely-there celery flavor. My brother and cousins slurped down bowls of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, while I fancied myself sophisticated with my maverick bowl of faintest green soup.
I’m talking WOW flavor. WOW flavor is more than BIG flavor. It’s typically nuanced, meaning there are a number of complimentary and contrasting flavors (and textures) working together to create a harmonious, surprising, and compelling whole.
That’s what’s going on with this spectacular soup. Celeriac, celery, celery leaf, leek, garlic, and parsley create a soup that is way more than the sum of its parts. And then there are powerful pops of flavor and crunch on top. It’s going to blow your mind.
As I devoured it–both hot and cold–I kept thinking, “This may be the best soup I’ve ever eaten.”
Triple Celery Soup with Parmesan, Parsley & Garlic Croutons & Parsley Oil
This wonderful soup is earthy and urbane, simple and sophisticated. It’s the epitome of fall, with layers of flavor that are greater than the sum of their parts.
Ingredient Note If you haven’t cooked with celeriac before, you’re in for a treat. It looks intimidating but peels easily with a vegetable peeler.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups (12 ounces; 2 large) trimmed, chopped leeks (white and light green portion only)
1 head garlic, skinned and chopped
4 cups (12 ounces, 1 large bulb) peeled, chopped celeriac (1 large celeriac)
3 cups (12 ounces) trimmed, chopped celery
2 dried bay leaves
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
fine sea salt, to taste
freshly ground white pepper
Parmesan, Parsley & Garlic Croutons (recipe below), crushed
Parsley Oil (recipe below)
1 cup torn celery leaf (from inner stalks)
- To prepare soup, in an 8-quart soup pot set over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add leeks, garlic, celeriac, celery, and bay leaves.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, partially cover, and simmer until celeriac is tender.
- Strain the soup, reserving vegetables and liquid separately.
- Using a blender or processor fitted with the steel knife, puree vegetables until smooth, adding a little stock if necessary.
- In a clean soup pot, combine stock and pureed vegetables. (For an even smoother texture, force the soup through a triple-mesh strainer.)
- To finish soup, add cream and lemon juice. Whisk to combine.
- Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with crushed Parmesan, Parsley & Garlic Croutons, drops of Parsley Oil, and celery leaf.
Parmesan, Parsley & Garlic Croutons
Croutons add a great textural contrast to soups and salads. These zippy croutons add a flavor boost as well.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
5-6 ounces cut or torn French or Italian bread
2 cloves garlic, skinned, and minced or pressed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons minced parsley
coarse sea salt in grinder
black pepper in grinder
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the butter and olive oil
- Add the torn or cut bread and toss to coat with the mustard mixture.
- Grind salt and black pepper over the croutons and toss to distribute evenly.
- In a sauté pan set over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil, and toss in the bread cubes. Turn the cubes frequently to lightly brown all sides, adding the garlic about half way through the browning process.
- Just as the croutons are ready to turn out of the pan, add Parmesan parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. The cheese should begin to melt.
- Remove croutons to paper towels. Reserve.
- Store in airtight freezer bags until needed. Croutons will keep for a few days. Rewarm to freshen.
Herb oils are sensational adjuncts to soups of all types. They add color and little pops of flavor that contrast with and compliment the flavor of the soup.
handful parsley leaves
¼ cup cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt, to taste
- In a processor fitted with the steel knife, puree parsley, using a little of the oil as needed.
- Add remaining olive oil, and process until well combined.
- Season to taste with salt. Reserve.
Makes ¼ cup.
More LunaCafe Fall Soups
- Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup with Curried Mustard Croutons
- Creamy Romaine Soup with Summer Herb Butter & Garlic Croutons
- Curried Sweetpotato, Ginger, & Coconut Bisque
- Green Chile Chowder with Yellow Finn Potatoes & Italian Kale
- Heirloom Carrot Soup with Lemon Verbena, Spearmint & Garlic Gremolata
- Roasted Garlic & Sunchoke Soup with Rosemary Hazelnut Pesto & Goat Cheese Crèma
- Sweet Carrot Bisque with Umami Pesto
- Warm Spiced Red Kuri Squash & Orange Soup with Cinnamon Harissa
Cookin’ with Gas (inspiration from around the web)
- Cream of Celery Root Soup | Michael Ruhlman
- Cream Of Celery Soup with Rustic Croutons & Celery Leaf Salsa Verde | Well Fed
Puréed Celery Root Soup with Caramelized Apples | Leite’s Culinaria
Winter Warmth: Celery Root and Parsnip Soup | TasteFood
Copyright 2014 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.