Lesser known in Australia than other root vegetables, celeriac is the brown root of a variety of celery, although not the one we commonly eat. Similar in make up to potatoes, yet very low in carbohydrates and with a mild celery flavour, this vege can be eaten raw, braised or roasted. This soup is thick and rich with a wonderful flavour, but doesn’t feel heavy due to the minimal starch.
- 1 kg (1 head) celeriac, peeled
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp ground fennel
- 1½ tsp ground coriander
- salt and ground white pepper
- 1 head garlic
- 300 g desiree potato, peeled and cut into 2 cm pieces
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves, plus extra leaves to serve
- 500 ml (2 cups) vegetable stock
- 125 ml (½ cup) milk
- crusty bread to serve (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Cut half the celeriac into small, ½ cm slices and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of fennel and ½ teaspoon of coriander. Season to taste and arrange on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Slice off the tip of the garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Place the garlic on the oven tray, transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Turn the celeriac and roast for a further 10–15 minutes until golden and the garlic is soft. Turn off the oven, remove the garlic from the foil and allow to cool briefly.
Meanwhile, cut the remaining celeriac into 2 cm pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the celeriac, potato, onion, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook for 6–7 minutes until the vegetables begins to soften. Add 2 teaspoons of fennel and 1 teaspoon of coriander and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat cover and simmer steadily for 15–17 minutes until the potato is tender. Remove from the heat.
Squeeze the garlic from their skins into the soup. Add the milk and, using a hand held blender, puree until smooth - the soup is supposed to be thick, but add in extra milk if a thinner soup is preferred. Season to taste.
Ladle soup into wide bowls, arrange the roasted celeriac in the centre and scatter over extra thyme leaves.
Photography by Sharyn Cairns. Styling by Lee Blaylock. Food preparation by Rachel Lane. Creative concept by Lou Fay.