For seasonal eating, now is one of those in-between times – there are the squashes and sweet potatoes of winter and the tender leafy greens and pea pods of spring.
Although we may want to be eating spring foods, in many parts of the country, they just aren’t ready. Early spring would be the time, in traditional agrarian households, when you might cook up the last of the roots into something unexpected. Even in California, I try to live that closely to the season.
My Spiced Celery Root Soup is warming and fragrant and the last-minute garnishes of bacon and honey serve as wonderful complements to the spices. Serve it up in big mugs, and I guarantee there won’t be a drop left.
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin
1/4 teaspoon whole fennel
1/2 teaspoon whole black pepper
Seeds from three cardamom pods
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
A pinch of ground clove
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup organic flour
4 cups home-made chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds celery root, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (save the stems and leaves if attached)
1/2-3/4 pound potatoes (about 2 small or 1 medium) peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup chopped celery stems and leaves
1 cup organic milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Crisp-fried, diced, organic bacon
Local, organic, raw honey
In a small, dry skillet, toast the whole spices until fragrant, watching closely so they do not burn. Cool spices and grind with a mortar and pestle or in an electric coffee or spice grinder. Add the ground cinnamon, cayenne and clove. Set aside.
In a soup pot, over medium high heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until vegetables are soft and fragrant. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until the flour begins to develop a toasty aroma (about 3-4 minutes). Add the broth, celery root, potatoes and celery stems and leaves. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 45 minutes).
Cool the soup, puree until smooth in a blender of food processor. Return to the pot and add milk. Heat and add salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish each serving with bacon and a drizzle of honey.
Note: Recipe Copyright Vanessa Barrington 2008