At the end of October, The Splendid Table's weekly recipe, "Weeknight Kitchen", arrived in my inbox. In keeping with the fall season, a root vegetable was the focus. I had not yet tried one of these suggested recipes, but Celery Root Soup with Blue Cheese felt like the recipe to start with. I've never tasted celery root and I was up for trying something new. Also, when it comes to autumn, I find it hard to turn down food that celebrates this season. The recipe is from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli.
Finding a decent celery root took two tries and the price of $4.99 a pound gave me an appreciation for this ingredient before I even tasted it. The voice behind The Splendid Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, advised me to look for a root that is firm and as smooth as possible. She also recommended going with high quality blue cheese. I opted for a Pacific Northwest favorite: Gorgonzola.
Celery root is a big, ugly bulbous root with smaller roots growing out of the bottom. Peeling it is not much different from peeling a potato, but eliminating the smaller roots felt a little counterintuitive. As I cut the small roots away, I began to worry about just how much weight I was losing and how the loss would affect the taste of the soup. I decided to add my flavorful cheese slowly and pressed forward. The rest of the directions were easy enough, I had to simmer the celery root in milk for about 30 minutes and then blend it with the cheese and chicken stock. Lemon juice and a topping of crumbled cheese made the meal complete.
I loved the earthiness of the delicate celery flavor and the cheese was a wonderful compliment. The taste of the soup ended with a little bitterness and it seemed a little dry. This wasn't so noticeable at first, but after a while I decided to add oyster crackers. I think that my bowl of soup would have made a better cup of soup for me. I'm so glad I tried celery root an I would definitely try it again.