Sunday, May 16, 2010

Slow-Cooked Celery and Celeriac Soup

A few years ago I decided to cook my way through a soup book. That decision came after I bought the amazing The Delia Collection -Soup. Such a gorgeous book. I read it multiple times, then realised that I wanted to try nearly every soup in the book. Split into the seasons there is always a soup that looks tempting, so I decided to push my usual choices and do the whole book. I haven't attacked my challenge with the same fervour of a Julie/Julia challenge, but it's still been an interesting "journey", I've tried new things and quite surprised myself. My favourite so far (I'm only about a quarter of the way through I guess) is the very surprising Celery Soup with Nutmeg! I've made it several times now over the last few years. It's really quite sublime. Which is really astounding, because I loathe celery and have always said that if I'm ever found choked to death on a piece of celery then I want the coroner called because I didn't put it there myself.

So bolstered by this success I decided to try the slow-cooked celery and celeriac soup. Delia seems to be rather keen on the slow cooking soup process. It's not a method that I've used before this book, but she has a number of recipes using it, I think this is the second that I've tried. The first was ok, but not an appealing colour, sort of dirty-dishwatery. I was suspecting similar things for today, and it came to pass. It is a tremendously simple method, chop stuff, throw it into a pot, bring it all to the boil on the stove (hob according to Delia) and then whack it in the oven and remember it 3 hours later. A 3 hours that can be put to other use like waging war on the blackberries threatening to over run the back yard.

Delia has thoughtfully provided this recipe online, complete with photograph. I didn't have time, or the inclination today, to make the Celeriac and Lancashire Cheese Bread that Delia has suggested to go along with it, although it does look intriguing.

Chopped stuff

After 3 hours in the oven

The finished result

And how was it? Pretty good. Much better than I was expecting. The two non-soup fans in the house actually quite liked it. I called the creme fraiche "sour cream" when giving it to my son, and told him the celery salt was "vegetable salt, kind of like chicken salt", which prompted a request for more-even before he tasted it. I don't know that it will win a place in my regular repertoire of soups, but it was nice, and felt very good for you.

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