Monday, 28 December 2009
Celeriac . . . celeriac . . .
Upon first glance, one might be forgiven if they were to pass over this quite hideous looking vegetable. Almost alien-like in appearance it might seem a bit scary to some . . . but don't be put off . . .
Beneath that ugly covering, hides a pleasantly flavoured vegetable, not unlike a mild celery, sweetly scented and very versatile. We just love it here in The English Kitchen . . . we really do.
Raw, and cut into thin strips, it's a lovely addition to salads, or grated and mixed with a mustardy flavoured mayonnaise to serve as a remoulade. I love it boiled, along with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and then mashed into a tasty puree. It's also fantastic thinly sliced, and gratineed in a tasty garlic cream, beneath a bed of buttery crumbs . . .
It's flavour is very mild and pleasant and goes so very well with other flavours . . . so much so that it ends up being used quite frequently in my kitchen, not the least of which is in this very tasty soup . . . the perfect blend of vegetable . . . sweet fruit . . . and tangy cheese. It is really lovely . . . truly it is a real favourite of ours . . .
It's so good in fact that when I took it to a cooking show that I appeared on several winter's ago, Paul Rankin declared it "Gorgeous" in that sexy Irish brogue of his . . . sigh . . .
but I digress . . .
This is the perfect soup to help to wean you from all that excess of the holidays . . .
and to help to use up that leftover stilton, of course!
*Celeriac, Stilton and Apple Soup*
This delicious soup is a wonderful marriage of the mild flavoured celeriac, sweet apple and savoury, rich tasting cheese. Gorgonzola and Roquefort also work well if you have a difficult time finding Stilton. Over here in the UK though, Stilton is King.
4 TBS butter
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 large celeriacs, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 litres of Vegetable Stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled
celery leaves (optional)
crumbled stilton (optional)
lightly sauteed apple slices (optional)
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celeriac, potato and garlic. Sweat gently for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking great care not to allow them to brown. If you find they are beginning to catch, you can add a bit of the stock. After the 10 minutes, add the apples and enough of the vegetable stock to cover. Season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer gently for about 40 minutes. All the vegetables and fruit should be fork tender. Once they are all tender, using a hand held stick blender, puree the soup until smooth. If you don't have one of these then you can do it in the blender in batches, but take great care as hot liquids in the blender have a tendancy to explode, so only do small amounts until you have it completely done. Add the stilton cheese and heat, stirring constantly until the cheese has completely melted. Serve ladled into hot soup bowls with a garnish as desired.