I love fall--the rainy days, falling leaves, pumpkins, hearty greens and root vegetables. It's also soup season, and last week I read this blog post and immediately wanted Cream of Celery soup. That's the thing about a good food blog--you never run out of ideas. The cream is made with cashew cream and celery's root cousin--celeriac--also plays a staring role.
Celeriac is not exactly out of season yet, but apparently it's getting a little late for celeriac here in the Northwest. I found some at Rent's Due Ranch.
Sometimes you have to search out celery this time of year, too. If you can't find either celeriac or celery check natural food stores because organic is way better tasting than non-organic. And if you're still having trouble finding celeriac, just add another white potato.
Celeriac is knobby and sometimes hard to cut all the gnarly brown hairs that grow up inside the root. The creamy color also turns brown when exposed to light, so if you need to leave it for more than a few minutes, toss it with lemon juice after cutting it, so it doesn't change colors.
Every fall soup needs garlic and you should get it now, while it's still in season. River Farm is using the remainder of their garlic for seed next year. I hope they saved enough for the wonderful garlic powder they sell in the winter.
I'd asked for 5 heads a few weeks ago and when Liz brought 5 pounds, I decided to get it all. Store it in a dark place where air circulates, and check it every so often to use heads that begin to soften.
Potatoes help thicken the soup. Often when you leave leftovers overnight, the soup gets so thick you need to add more water the next day.
I added an apple on impulse because I had so many apples. The flavors blend together well and you can't tell an apple was added to the mix. Peel it first so the colors don't detract from the celery.
Upstairs, downstairs--together these two vegetables make a delicious team.
The cashews pureed with apple cider and added to the soup in the end, give the soup a decadent feel.
"Cream" of Celery Soup
If you don't already love celery, you will after this soup. A little of everything goes into this savory stock-free seasonal soup.
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup apple cider
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed if large and sliced
1 small red pepper, seeds and stem removed, small dice
1 cup sliced carrots
1 small onion or 2 shallots, small dice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of celeriac, carefully peeled and diced
3 to 4 cups chopped celery
1 white potato, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 tablespoon chopped Mama Lil's Peppers (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
4 cups water
Lemon juice to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Soak the cashews in apple cider for at least 2 hours. Puree until smooth and set aside.
2. Dry fry the mushrooms until they soften. Add red pepper, carrots, onion and olive oil. Stir, cover and reduce heat so vegetables sweat and soften.
3. Place celeriac, celery, potato, apple, garlic Mama Lil's, sea salt lemon zest, agave nectar and water in a soup pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables soften.
4. Puree celeriac-celery mixture a little at a time until creamy. Add the mushrooms and vegetables. Balance the flavors with salt and lemon juice. Stir in the cashew cream.
5. Serve garnished with parsley.