Photo by Dora Kazmierak
This is my favorite soup to make during the cooler seasons. The celery root adds a celery-like flavor with nutty undertones, and contributes to the creamy consistency of the soup. The pesto gives a delicious crunchy texture and earthy flavor. This soup also freezes well, so you can make it a few days ahead of time, or double the recipe and freeze the rest for a rainy day. I sometimes add a crumble of crispy, smoked pancetta on top. Yield: 6 servings.
For the soup:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 celery root, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery rib, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2⁄3 cup whole, blanched hazelnuts
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4-1⁄4 cups hot vegetable stock
- 1⁄2 cup crème fraîche
For the pesto:
- 2⁄3 cup blanched hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the celery root, celery rib, onion, and whole hazelnuts, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, and then reduce to low heat. Cover the pan with foil, and put the lid on. Leave the vegetables to sweat for 15 minutes.
- While the vegetables sweat, toast the hazelnuts for the pesto in a frying pan over high heat for 3 minutes, shaking the pan frequently to toast the nuts evenly. This releases their oils and flavor.
- In a small bowl, mix the chopped sage and olive oil.
- Fold the toasted hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel, and crush them with a rolling pin. Add the crushed nuts to the olive oil and sage, and stir until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Add the hot stock to the vegetables, and bring to a boil. Leave to cook, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender, and blend to a smooth consistency.
- Return the soup to the saucepan. Stir in the crème fraîche over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until warm.
- Serve the soup in warmed bowls. Drizzle the hazelnut and sage pesto evenly over each bowl.
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Reprinted with permission from Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna © 2019 Kyle Books, and photographs © Dora Kazmierak.