Saturday, March 30, 2013

Rootin' Tootin' Soup

When I tasted celeriac/ginger soup at L'Appart Resto in San Anselmo, I immediately resolved to try making it myself at home. Theirs was creamy without cream, tasty without spiciness, and velvety in texture. I was eager to figure out how they turned gnarly, ugly celery root into refined and delicate soup.

I looked up some recipes online and came up with one from the Dominican Republic that, while it called for a healthy ratio of ginger-to-celeriac, sounded like it might fit the bill. Lots of root things livened with ginger. Sounded good, and simple enough to make. 

It involves a bit of chopping - celeriac, onion, carrot, ginger - but I got to work with my favorite knife and produced a big pot of dark yellow soup. Beautiful. Topped with some garlic croutons for texture and crunch, it was a rich golden color in the bowl.

The first sip was an eye-opener.

All that ginger was not tamed by sautéing, nor by simmering in vegetable broth. It was, shall we say, assertive. Dominant. In fact, almost bullying.  Our lips tingled for quite a while after the soup was consumed. But, oddly, we rather liked it. I guess we have our subtly masochistic side. Another time, I'd definitely cut back by half on the ginger, as I'd like to taste it and feel the tingle, but this first pot was completely overwhelmed by the strutting, crowing ginger.

Another improvement I would make is to pass it through a fine strainer. We didn't mind this somewhat rustic texture, but I'm still aiming for the silkiness of the soup at L'Appart. 

Still, for a soup that was made from nothing but roots and shoots, it made for a lively appetizer.  I think it would be particularly good to serve a cup of it when lamb is on the menu.

Celeriac and Ginger Soup (my next version)

2 lbs celeriac (celery root), peeled and cubed
1/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
l large carrot, peeled and diced
l large onion, cubed
3 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried)
3 Tbs olive oil
6 cups (48oz) vegetable stock
salt, pepper

Flavored oil (your favorite)
Garlic croutons

In a large soup pot, sauté veggies in oil, starting with ginger, then onion and thyme, then carrot and celeriac, about 5 minutes.  Add the stock, bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, remove the thyme stems (the leaves will have dropped off into the soup by now), and let the soup cool until it is cool enough to blend. Using a blender, a food processor, or a stick blender, purée the soup to desired smoothness. If you want really, really smooth soup, pass it through a fine mesh strainer or tamis. Adjust for salt and pepper to taste.

Rewarm in a deep pot, adding water if needed. Serve with croutons and a drizzle of oil.


Blogger Greg said...

Ginger is always a tricky variable. It sounds like a success.

Saturday, March 30, 2013  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

That's still too much ginger. I'm guessing typo in the recipe you found.

Saturday, March 30, 2013  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, I'd call it a measured success - good start, but needs some work.

Cookiecrumb, I never thought of the typo idea - I'll adjust next time.

Sunday, March 31, 2013  

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