In New York, it's been a cold, cold winter this year with no end in sight. Just a few days ago it snowed again, just 24 hours after the "first day of Spring." While I've been subsisting off brothy, meaty soups (obviously comforting in freezing temps), I'm searching for something a little brighter. This soup is just hearty enough for a cold night, but has the freshness of Springtime – or more specifically, Spring weather - is hopefully just around the corner.
If you've never cooked with celery root (or celeriac) – this is your time. It's a root vegetable with the essence of Spring. I know it appears pretty gnarly on the surface, but once you shed its knobby skin, it has such a light, fragrant celery taste that anyone would love. Enjoy this soup warm with good, crusty bread.
CELERY ROOT & PINK LADY APPLE SOUP WITH YOGURT, TOASTED HAZELNUTS & MICROGREENS (Gluten-free, grain-free, vegan opt.)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 leek, cut into half-moons
- 1 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 2-3 pink lady or honey crisp apples, peeled & diced
- 1 3/4 lb. celeriac, peeled and diced (about 4 cups chopped)
- 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk, or about 1/2 can
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground white pepper
- Greek yogurt, to serve
- Microgreens, to serve
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a large Dutch oven or saucepan over medium heat with olive oil. Add garlic, onion, leek, apple, celery root and parsnip. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until onions and leeks begin to soften. Stir in bay leaves, thyme, nutmeg, broth and coconut milk. Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer over low heat until celery root, apples & parsnips are completely softened. Season as you go with sea salt and freshly cracked white pepper.
In the meantime, add hazelnuts to a small baking sheet. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until your kitchen smells nutty and hazelnut skins begin to flake off. Set aside to cool. Once hazelnuts are cool enough to touch, rub them between your hands to remove skins (this step can be skipped, but the hazelnut skins will flake off easily and no one wants that in their soup!). Once most of the skins are removed, roughly chop and set aside.
Once soup is soft, use a hand blender or actual blender to puree soup until smooth. Season each bowl with flaky sea salt, white pepper and hazelnuts. Then top with a dollop of yogurt and a handful of microgreens. Serve immediately.