Melanie Johnson’s warming celeriac soup is delicious.
Celeriac is now the last of the root vegetables left in the kitchen garden and we should make the most of it. With its earthy celery flavour, it’s a surprisingly versatile ingredient.
Celeriac soup with rosemary, walnuts and bacon plus Parmesan scones (serves 4)
150g self-raising flour
30g unsalted butter
100ml full-fat milk
75g grated Parmesan
1 beaten egg
1 chopped onion
1 crushed garlic clove
1 celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
1 potato, peeled and cut into chunks
500ml hot chicken stock
A splash of double cream, plus extra to serve
2 smoked-bacon rashers, cut into lardons
50g roughly chopped walnuts
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat your oven to 220°C/425ºF/gas mark 7. Cover a baking sheet with parchment and brush with a little oil.
Whisk the flour and a pinch of salt together in a bowl, then add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips. Pour in the milk a third at a time and mix until you have a dough, then add the Parmesan and mix well. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes, then roll it out to about 2cm thick. Cut the dough into rounds until you’ve used it all.
Arrange the scones on the baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg and bake for 12–15 minutes or until lightly golden. Leave on a wire rack until ready to serve, with butter.
To make the soup, gently fry the onion in a saucepan with a splash of olive oil. Once it’s translucent, add the garlic, celeriac and potato and continue to fry gently. Pour in the hot chicken stock and simmer until the vegetables are tender. Once cooked, use a stick blender to purée the soup. Taste for seasoning and add a splash of cream.
Next, fry the bacon in a small pan and, once crisp, add the chopped walnuts and rosemary. Fry to release the flavours.
To serve, divide the soup between four bowls and top with a further drizzle of cream, a sprinkling of bacon, rosemary and walnuts and with the Parmesan scones on the side.
More ways with celeriac
Peel and chop 2 celeriacs, put them in a saucepan with enough milk to cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until almost tender, then add a peeled and cored ripe pear and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the milk, and add a little butter and seasoning. Purée with a stick blender, adding a little milk if needed. Perfect served with roast pork.
Grate one peeled celeriac and a tart apple with the skin on. Combine 100ml mayonnaise, 50ml single cream, 30ml cider vinegar and a tablespoon of wholegrain Dijon mustard in a bowl. If it seems a little thick, add a splash of water. Add the salad to the dressing and mix well. Top with a small mound of watercress before serving.
Peel and thinly slice equal amounts of celeriac and potato. Layer them in a baking tray— only a few layers deep or it will take too long to cook—and pour well-seasoned double cream over them. Dot with butter and place in a hot oven for 40 minutes or until the potato and celeriac are tender.