I wish I were some kind of tough all-weather recreationalist, but the truth is, I’m a fair weather outdoors-woman. Rain and gloom have me pouting indoors with a condition which my husband refers to as Weather Head. Symptoms include headache, pessimism and crankiness.
Days like these make me think I have probably picked the wrong part of the country to live. A friend in Montana tells me it’s sunny there practically all the time. Also, they have big fluffy snow into May. I’m looking out my writing room window right now at a backyard full of wet, dirty snow piles, bleak trees, and grey sky.
Yesterday I loved the Adirondacks: we went cross country skiing in the sunshine on the last stretches of spring snow. Today I stave off despair by making soup.
Vegetabley, healthy, and comforting, this soup has the mellow oniony flavor of leeks, the celery zing of celeriac (celery root), and the creaminess of potatoes. Perfect for what ails me. I’ve been using store-bought stock for my last several soups, but today I decided to go completely from scratch and just the smell of homemade veggie stock started to make me feel more cheerful.
If you’re wondering about celeriac, you’re not alone. I only learned about it in the past few years from the helpful folks at the farmer’s market. A number of weeks ago it looked like I had the chance to return the favor.
A young woman helping at one of my favorite vendors paused for a moment, turning over the strange root in her hand before handing me the celeriac. “I’ve never figured out how to use this,” she said, of the dense greenish ball. She said her goal was cook with everything from the small but varied farm.
“Do you like celery?” I asked, ready to extoll the virtues of celery-flavored soup. Celeriac tastes just like celery, only more so.
“No,” she said, wrinkling her nose.
“Then celeriac is just not going to be your vegetable,” I said. She looked disappointed. I assured her she could still have a satisfying life of veggies without it. “I’m a vegetarian who doesn’t eat asparagus,” I said. Her smile said, now that is just plain weird.
Creamy Potato-Celery-Leek Soup
- 3 TBS olive oil (or 2 TBS oil and 1 TBS butter)
- 3 large leeks, sliced into disks (discard the hard green tops and the very bottom of the stem)
- medium celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3 medium yellow potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin disks
- 6 cups veggie stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish
- In your soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat and toss in the leek disks. Cook until tender.
- Pour in the stock, the celeriac cubes, and the potatoes and increase the heat to high.
- When the mixture comes to a boil, lower and simmer for half an hour or so, until the cubes are very soft. (You can’t really simmer it too long, so if you’re not sure, let it go longer.)
- Take the pot off the stove and puree with your immersion blender.
- Taste. Add salt and pepper as needed. (If you used homemade stock you’ll need considerably more salt than if you use packaged.)
- Serve with sprigs of fresh thyme and fresh ground pepper and salt.