Serve 6 people for 4.26 per head, including wine!
I know your first question: what the hell is Celery Root? Well, first of all, it’s delicious. Secondly, it’s amazing for you.
Also known as Celeriac, this wonderful but underused root vegetable is now available in local grocery stores and not just specialty stores. It looks like a large gnarly root, but you’ll recognize it by the few celery stalks growing out of the top (you won’t use that celery, it’s for identification purposes only.) It has the texture and consistency of a potato, and packs a strong celery flavor. Like a potato, it has many uses: it can be roasted, boiled, pureed, or even sliced thinly with a mandolin and marinated for a salad.
And it truly is a super food. It is low in carbs and packed with vitamin C and potassium. It’s also got a good amount of fiber and other vitamins and minerals as well (you know, like manganese, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin B6, and all those other things your body needs, but we never really think about, right?)
While celery root is not the cheapest thing in your produce aisle, you don’t need a lot of it to make a delicious feast. Just keep an eye out until you see a good price. I buy mine usually at $3.99 per pound.
While today I am going to share with you my recipe for Celery Root and Apple Soup, rest assured celery root will appear on this blog again. I love me some celery root.
A great creamy soup is the perfect meal on a cool evening, and this is one of my favorites. The sweet and tart apples are the perfect counterpoint to the savory celery root, and the salty prosciutto topping sets the mouth a-dancing.
I paired this with a Vinho Verde. Vinho Verde is a Portuguese style wine that is slightly effervescent (a fancy word for slightly sparkling) while still staying dry, crisp and apple-y. My Trader Joe’s sells a great one for $2.99, but the great thing about Vinho Verdes is that they are almost always affordable. The soup would also pair well with a Pinot Grigio or a maybe a very light Australian style Chardonnay (they tend to be more crisp and light than the Californian or French counterparts.)
I was cooking for my wife and I, my brother’s family, and my mother was in town. So since I needed to serve six, I also bought a fresh baked baguette from my local grocer to serve with the soup for $1.99.
This soup will require pureeing, so you will either need an emulsion blender (you know the kind you stick straight into the pot, I will mention more about this in a future reviews blog,) a food processor, or powerful blender.
Celery Root and Apple Soup, topped with Crispy Prosciutto, Sour Cream, and Chive Oil
¼ cup butter
2 large celery roots (about 2 pounds)
3 apples (about 1 pound, I prefer a mixture of granny smith and red apples, for both sweet and tart flavors)
4 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
¼ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small container sour cream
1 package prosciutto
1 small bunch of chives
- Remove the bottom of the leeks, and the outermost leaves. Be sure to clean the leek well, as they are notorious for collecting dirt amongst their layers. Remove the top inch or so of the dark green tops and discard them. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and the chop them on a bias (that’s fancy way of saying diagonally.)
- Peel and core the apples and peel the celery root and dice them into ½” cubes. Store the apple cubes in a little lemon juice to keep them from browning until ready to use. (Peeling the celery root can be a tad problematic, you will need a knife as well as peeler to get at the really gnarled bunches. Also be sure to remove the top of the root where the celery protrudes.)
- Melt the butter in a Dutch Oven, or large soup pot. Saute the leeks in the butter for two minutes, or until softened. Add the celery root and apples and continue to cook until slightly translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the garnishes. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Cut the prosciutto into ¼” by ½” rectangles, add the rectangles to the skillet and cook until crispy. Remove the prosciutto from the heat onto a paper towel. Also, cut the chives into thirds, and add them and ¼ cup olive oil to a small food processor and puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Puree the soup. My favorite method is to take an emulsion blender (about $30, much cheaper than a food processor, and mine came with a mini food processor too. Look for them at Costco) and stick it straight into the soup pot and puree the soup. You may also scoop the soup into a food processor or powerful blender to puree. This method will need to be done in batches, and very carefully, as the soup is hot. Add broth as you puree until the soup reaches your desired consistency. Also add salt and pepper to taste, but do not over salt as the crispy prosciutto will add much of the final saltiness.
- Serve the soup, topped with a dollop of sour cream, a few drops of chive oil and some crispy prosciutto.
All of this can be made a day in advance and reheated before serving. Also makes great leftovers. Just be sure to also save the garnishes.
2 celery roots (@ $2.99 per pound) $6.19+ 3 apples (@ $1.79 per pound) $1.96 + 2 leeks (@ $1.49 per pound) $1.37 + butter $.25 + 1 lemon $.33 + 2 cartons of chicken broth $3.98 + 1 package prosciutto $3.99 + 1 container (16 oz) of Sour Cream $1.50 + 1 bottle of Vinho Verde $3.99 + 1 fresh baguette $1.99 = 25.55
Comes to $4.26 per person!
I did not list the chives above, because they were grown in my herb garden. If you do not have them in you garden, they will be $1.99 more.
Kitchen Basics used:
olive oil, salt and pepper.
Other tips to make this meal even more affordable:
You can substitute one pound of celery root for 1 pound of Yukon Gold or red potatoes. You will lose some flavor, but not enough to keep your guests from wowing, I promise.
You can also substitute the prosciutto for bacon, ham, pancetta, or even chorizo. I prefer the prosciutto for this recipe for flavor and the texture it gets once crisp.