Even though it is often called celery root, celeriac is not a root at all but a hypocotyl or stem of a germinating seedling. It is one of those vegetables that has plenty of character. The entire outer case is covered with wart like bumps and whorls of undulating tan and green. Every ridge and curve is a potential trap for dirt and soil. Gnarly root endings dangle from the bottom and the upper part is covered with leaf scars from old leaves. Don’t be put off by the appearance, however. Once peeled down to the creamy white interior you have a real gem of a start for a grated salad or winter soup. The flavor is mild, a little like celery but sweeter. It blends well with almost any other winter vegetables like carrots, potatoes, cabbage or fennel.
Make a tasty comfort food soup utilizing celeriac as a creamy base and then incorporate other vegetables for color and flavor. Try Fennel and Celeriac Soup, a delicious dairy free recipe perfect for this time of year.
Fennel and Celeriac Soup
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot.
- Add the leeks, sautéing for a few minutes.
- Next add the celeriac pieces, and continue to sauté until they begin to brown.
- Add the fennel, and toss with the other vegetables.
- After a few minutes, add the salt, continue to sauté for another few minutes.
- Add the stock, and continue to simmer the soup until the celeriac is fork tender.
- Allow to cool enough so you can puree the soup, or use a potato masher for a chunkier texture.
- Add the pepper and fennel leaves for garnish. Check the flavors.