Celeriac Soup with Hazelnuts & Crispy Sage
Celeriac is an under-used star. I love it and champion it in my kitchen. Sometimes it’s simply roasted with salt and pepper, other times it’s smashed with lemon and thyme or just eaten raw, finely sliced in a remoulade.
Here it’s the centrepiece of a comforting soup. Apples are the perfect foil for adding sweetness, while the butter beans bring creaminess, so no need for cream or crème fraîche here. The soup can be eaten simply as it is, but have a go at the brown butter – it amps it up and makes this soup a real winner. If you haven’t made brown butter before, it’s got a deep nutty flavour which melds with the crispy sage and toasted hazelnuts to send this soup to a different dimension.
Celeriac is a bit of a beast to look at. But looks are not everything – beneath the gnarly, knobbly exterior lies a creamy white flesh with a sweet, nutty, super-savoury flavour. It packs some serious health benefits. It’s high in fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6. Peel your celeriac thickly to get rid of any green tinges around the edge and any muddy leftovers.
1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
1 celeriac, washed, peeled and roughly chopped
4 apples (Cox’s are my choice), cored and roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1.5 litres vegetable stock
1 × 400g tin of butter beans, drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful of hazelnuts
a few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
Heat a splash of oil in a large pan, then add the leek and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft and sweet. Add the celeriac, apples and thyme and cook for 2–3 minutes, then add the stock and butter beans and season well. Simmer over a low heat for 20–30 minutes, until the celeriac is tender, then remove from the heat and blitz with a hand blender until smooth.
Toast the hazelnuts in a frying pan until golden brown then remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the butter to the pan and once it is hot add the sage and fry until it is crispy and the butter is light brown. Keep the heat low for this last bit and take the pan off as soon as you see the butter turn brown, as it can burn really quickly.
Ladle into bowls and top with the sage and hazelnut brown butter.
Image: Yuki Sugiura