This year Christmas is for us is is at the in laws in Limoges. The other half's mother is a very good cook but like most mother's has an innate tendancy to feed us like a goose being fattened up for foie gras when we are there. In France the main event dinner wise takes place on Christmas eve. This evening we will sit down to several courses, starting with appetizers of smoked salmon, followed by oysters and langoustines, then home-made foie gras, then some kind of stuffed bird - served with a chestnut puree, before the cheese plate gets passed around and then finally dessert. Dessert in this case will be a yule log from Yannick the local baker who really has a talent for coming up with the most unbelievable flavor combinations, that do not always necessarily work together. Take mango and coffee for instance!
Having learned from previous experience I have been trying not to go too hard on the mince pies and mulled wine this week, and have been making room in my stomach for this Christmas dinner by having lots of soup.
The first time I saw celeriac it arrived in an organic vegetable box when I was living in the UK and I did not know what to do with it. I have since learned to love this nutty and sweet root vegetable which lends itself to various cooking styles from puree, to roasted, to galettes.
This soup is very healthy with no cream what so ever, but it is so thick and comforting I promise you will not miss it! It also brings out the natural sweetneess of the celeriac which combines well with the warming nutmeg.
I got the idea for this soup from a puree recipe in one of Richard Corrigan's cook books where he adds apple to the celeriac mash.
You will need:
one large celeriac (the one I used was just over one kilo) peeled and roughly cut into large chunks
two medium sweet apples - peeled, cored and diced
two medium onions - peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp of ground nutmeg
on glass of apple juice (optional)
one tbs of olive oil
one ltr vegetable stock (a stock cube will do)
Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, add onions and nutmeg and cook on a low heat until translucent, add the apple and cook unil both onion and apple are almost caramelised. Add the celeriac and cook for about five minutes while continuously stirring. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then turn down heat and cover saucepan with a lid and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 30 mins until celeriac is soft. Then blend using a hand blender. I like my soup quite thick but even so I diluted the soup down with glass of apple juice (200ml).
Delicious served with wild mushrooms served on toasted and buttered poilane bread (any sour dough bread toasted will do) scattered over with fresh herbs!