Brrrrrr! It is cold in Wisconsin and it feels like our unofficial winter season couldn’t wait any longer. Gone are the days of strolling around downtown picking beautiful produce from the Farmer’s Market (until next Spring – sad face). With temperatures in the 30s and 20s it’s a good thing that the market has moved indoor. I am also sad that our CSA share has come to an end :/ On the bright side it is soup and stew season!!! And who doesn’t love a really hearty homemade soup in a cold and gloomy day? There are still lots of local produce we can transform into deliciousness in a bowl, like Celeriac!!!
Celeriac or Celery Root is a very ugly vegetable, isn’t it? It’s almost scary looking! Don’t judge by the package thou! I think I will use here the same philosophy that applies to us humans, no matter how you look in the outside, what we are inside is what matters 🙂 In this case underneath the ugly cover you will find that Celeriac is a beautiful silky vegetable that resembles a potato with a mild tangy celery-like flavor. Perfectly pairs with cream for its silky and creamy texture. I used leeks for a much milder onion flavor and lots of thyme because I have it in my garden and want to use it as much as possible.
If you grow your own herbs, infusing oils is a great way to have that herb flavor last you a while and adding a drizzle of this finishing oil to your warm dish will bring out the beautiful smell of thyme and definitely transform your taste experience. It is quick & easy. Do you now feel like cooking? I do, so let’s get to it.
Ingredients: (serves 6)
For the infused oil
1 cup canola oil (you can use any light oil)
1 small bunch of fresh thyme
For the soup
1 Leek, halved and chopped (white & light green parts only)
1 Tablespoon butter
4 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh thyme, tied up with kitchen twine
2 lb. Celeriac, peeled and roughly diced
2 lb. Russet potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
4 Cups vegetable broth
1/4 Cup heavy cream
1/4 Plain Greek yogurt
Salt and pepper to taste
For plating (optional)
1 oz. sliced mushrooms
To infuse the oil: in a small saucepan bring the oil and herbs to a low simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it steep for up to 2 hours. Strain out the thyme and funnel into a clean glass container. This can be done ahead of time – see cook notes.
To make the soup: heat the butter and olive oil in a large heavy-bottom pan, add the chopped leeks and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the celeriac, potatoes, vegetable stock and thyme, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add the heavy cream and bring back to a boil. Remove from the heat and carefully scoop into a blender or food processor. You may need to do it in two batches. Make sure to remove the bunch of thyme before blending. Add the yogurt, two tablespoons of the infused thyme oil and blend away. Taste and adjust seasoning, if it is too thick you can add more vegetable stock. Serve warm and finish with a drizzle of the infused thyme oil.
For serving: This step in completely optional but if you are serving, let’s say, a dinner party you may want to take the time to have a beautiful presentation. In a small frying pan heat one tablespoon of thyme infused oil. Fry some slices of mushroom until crispy on both sides. In a small bowl combine the celery leaves with 1 teaspoon thyme infused oil. When serving the soup, top with some slices of fried mushrooms and celery leaves. Drizzle more thyme infused oil to finish plating and serve. Enjoy!
Cook Notes:You can infuse oil with any fresh herbs you like. Keep the oil refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.
This recipe was inspired by the Potato, Celeriac and truffle oil soup recipe from Jamie Oliver’s book Jamie’s Kitchen.