Celery Root Soup with Pear and Pistachio

“My friend Pamela Morgan prepared this Celery Soup specially for us. It’s perfect for winter because the celery root warms your body. The Winter is a great time to eat roots as yam, carrots, radish and sweet potatoes because they are yang foods according to the Macrobiotic.”

To get started you’ll need:

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced into 1” pieces
1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2” wedges
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2” pieces
1 leek, pale and light green part only, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 medium celery root, peeled and diced into 3/4” pieces
2 teaspoons agave
4 sprigs of thyme, stemmed
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
6 tablespoons raw pistachios, chopped

EB3WPsWra_NikQJ7hcMH2Fxje3Av7mTOsKf7enwhL0QHeat a large stockpot over medium heat for one minute, then add 1T oil. Add 2 diced pears, carrots, leek, garlic, and celery root. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Add the thyme, bay, and vegetable stock to the stockpot and increase heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper, stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
In a separate skillet, heat another 1T oil over medium heat. Add pear wedges, stir in agave, and cook over medium heat on one side until nicely browned and caramelized. Flip pears and caramelize on other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
Place the raw pistachios in another small skillet over medium heat. Toast until just fragrant. Roughly chop and set aside.
Remove Purée soup using your preferred method, either with a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender. Adjust seasoning and divide soup amongst serving bowls, Garnish each with chopped pistachio and a few caramelized pears.

KVyBcJTD6NLGav9gbUdlA5OFdL75LU9R_8GRPJ-s_zoForget substitutions, adjustments, or alternatives when it comes to vegan cooking.  The best, most flavorful vegan recipes are those that can stand on their own two feet without any help. This soup is certainly one of those recipes. When I came up with the concept, vegan cooking wasn’t even on my radar—it wasn’t until after I created it that I noticed the lack of dairy, meat, or eggs. Well color me surprised! It just so happens that the incredibly silky texture of celery root and pears add so much creaminess that you’d never know you were “missing” anything—because you’re not!
I myself am not a vegan. However, I always try to include one or more “all-veggie” days in my week. Sometimes I just cut out meat, but more times than not I stick to produce, nuts, grains, and seeds. The health benefits of a vegan lifestyle are incredible, so I make a concerted effort to take advantage. This soup is a perfect example of something I enjoy on days like those.

eJiBkI-VP3Nc-Liwuyna1Ir3fEuhbzjKPjICNn7q-osDon’t be afraid of celery root. Trust me. It may look like a baby troll, but I promise you there’s good stuff under that rough skin. Don’t judge a vegetable by its peel! Under the terrifying exterior, celery root is a dense, off-white root vegetable with a mild celery-like flavor. When braised, roasted, or mashed, it has a luxuriously smooth texture and beautifully delicate flavor.
In this recipe, we pair the celery root with carrot and pear for sweetness, and use leek for a mild flavor base. Together, the ingredients are delicately balanced—no one vegetable steals the show here. The flavor flirt (because there always has to be a flavor flirt!) in this soup is the thyme and bay. These two herbs are hardly perceptible when included in the soup but TERRIBLY missed when left out. Promise me you won’t make flat-tasting soup. Include the herbs! You’ll thank me later.
To contrast the velvety soup, I added tender caramelized pears and crunchy pistachios to take things over the edge. To be honest, the soup was already over the edge without them, but sometimes you have to go big or go home.

tKFCwu5hQ2y296Y7u1G06uly0iIf9mW_TyRPtDWiL_AServe this soup for company or make a big batch for lunches this week. I’ve served it as a Thanksgiving appetizer, a cocktail party shooter, and as a weekday office lunch. It’s the jack-of-all-soups. Enjoy! Serves 6.
P.S. Like most pureed soups, this one freezes like a dream so feel free to keep some handy in the freezer!

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