Though the leaves on the trees and the pollenated air tells us in no uncertain terms that spring is here, it’s still too early for much in the way of spring produce here in New England. What we do have in abundance is hearty root vegetables. This recipe for Celery and Celeriac Soup from Chef Jason Bond of Bondir in Cambridge makes good use of them.
Bond knows his roots. He grew up on a farm out west (we’re talking Wyoming, not the Berkshires) where his family kept a well-stocked root cellar. His recipe shines a spotlight on celery, a vegetable that Bond says doesn’t get nearly enough respect.
While the soup is hearty, the flavors are subtle and sophisticated. Add some cream if you want to make it a little richer and more decadent. Add fresh herbs, if you like. It’s versatile recipe with room for lots of improvisation.
Here’s the basic plan.
Celery and Celeriac Soup (serves 6)
1 large head celeriac
1 russet potato
1/4 lb butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 branch thyme
1/2 gallon vegetable stock or water
4 celery branches
Peel, wash and roughly chop the celeriac, potato, carrot and leek. Place in a large soup pot with the butter, cinnamon stick, salt, pepper and thyme. Cover the pot and simmer very gently for one hour until the vegetables are very soft. Add the vegetable stock or water and the chopped celery branches and bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and adjust as desired. Puree in small batches and serve or chill for later. Garnish with celery leaves, almonds, a drizzle of olive oil, or fresh herbs.