Cream of two-celery soup

The celery root serves a dual purpose here, both thickening the soup and deepening the celery flavor. If you can find it, this is an easy first-course soup.

    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 1 leek, sliced
    • 4–5 stalks celery, peeled and thickly sliced or chopped (see note)
    Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and celery and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Don’t let them brown.
    • 1 medium celery root, trimmed, peeled, and cubed
    • 4 cups water
    Add the celery root and water. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the celery root is soft, about 15 minutes.
    • salt, to taste
    • finely ground white pepper, to taste
    • ¼ to ½ cup cream (optional)
    Purée the soup with a hand blender. Add the cream and seasonings to taste and return the soup to the stove to re-warm it gently.

Notes

  • Peeling the celery may sound like a lot of work, but it takes only a minute and removes the strings, which don’t always purée smoothly. Just trim the celery stalk and run a vegetable peeler along the back; it should remove only a thin layer of flesh but take all the strings with it.
  • Don’t be tempted to use stock instead of water; it will muddy the celery flavor.