Celeriac and Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger Recipe

Soupe de Céleri et Patates Douces au Gingembre

[Celeriac and Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger]

It has been very cold in Paris lately* — which I guess should be expected in late November but still comes as something of a shock after the lovely été indien we’ve had — and naturally my thoughts turn to, I’ll let you guess: fondue savoyarde? Well, that’s one, but it’s not what I meant. Soup, then? Yes! Thick and hearty soup served piping hot, the kind you can fill a pretty bowl with, cup your hands around, and call it lunch.

For today’s soup I used two kinds of root vegetables, which happen to be very much in the holiday spirit, on either side of the Atlantic: sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple in the US (if you celebrated it I hope your dinner went well — we went to Haynes’ and had a grand time) while celeriac, a.k.a. celery root or céleri-rave, is often featured on French Christmas menus, boiled and pureed with a little cream, and served with roast turkey or game. It’s a nice change from mashed potatoes, I find its flavor more subtle and its texture lighter, tasting halfway between a vegetable and a starch.

I’ve also used ginger and garlic to flavor the soup, adding a gentle kick to the soup’s natural sweetness, and a pleasant heat that lingers on the roof of your mouth after every spoonful. What’s more, both are supposed to be excellent for your immune system, which is in dire need of a helping hand this time of year. But that doesn’t dispense you from wearing that cool hand-knit scarf when you go out, fortunately.

* Weather update: Not an hour after writing this, we had our first snow of the year! Can you hear the bells jingling yet?

Soupe de Céleri et Patates Douces au Gingembre

- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- One small head celeriac, about 2 pounds (choose a firm one that feels heavy for its size, and knock on it gently to make sure it doesn’t sound hollow), peeled, quartered and sliced
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
- Salt, pepper
- a knob of ginger, about the size of my thumb (that’s 2 inches), peeled, and grated or thinly minced
- 1/3 cup milk

Serves 6.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or cocotte. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until fragrant. Add in the vegetables, season with salt and a generous amout of pepper, and cook for ten minutes, until they start to get golden. Pour in hot water (or stock) to just cover the vegetables, add in the grated ginger, stir, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 35 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and very soft, stirring from time to time to make sure the vegetables don’t stick to the bottom. Stir in the milk (and a bit more water if the mixture is too thick), puree the soup to the desired smoothness (I like it chunky), and serve immediately, optionally topped with a fresh grind of pepper.

  • http://xxxocolate.blogspot.com Filipe

    I was in need of a new soup and this one sounds particularly “cosy”. I’m gonna try this one tonight! Hope to find some celeriac heads, as I can only remember of seing the green parts at supermarkets…

  • Elizabeth

    Product information: would it be possible to tell us the brand and source of the sweet and sophisticated bowl that holds your soup? Thanks!

  • Alisa

    It is a nice bowl. I know exactly what I was doing while you were writing this post. Wasn’t the snow fall pretty?

  • http://tapioca.blogs.com/ valentina

    Celeriac is something that I have just got in the habit of eating for a year now and I have developed quite a liking there. I will give your recipe a go. It’s been awfully cold over here in good old England as well.In the south it hasn’t snowed yet..we are waiiting..well, i;m not really as i live on a hilly town and it is nightmare when snow is around.

  • Tristan

    Hello Clotilde,
    the soup looks very delicious in this pretty bowl. so I have the same questions than Elisabeth…

  • http://home.case.edu/~cjm12 Connie

    Mother Nature has left Cleveland with more than our fair share of snow. I have been craving good soups recently and this may just be the sort that will sate those cravings.

  • http://gourmandisesco.blogspot.com Cat

    Cette soupe à l’air délicieuse et la photo est magnifique!

  • http://pmatthewsblog.blogspot.com/ Matthew

    We have been eating heartily the last three days, so some of us (me not included) are not inclined to think about food, now. However, when we have recovered from our feasting, celeriac is something I would like to try.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Elizabeth and Tristan – The cup is designed by Marcel Marongiu for Artoria, a Limoges-based porcelain maker, and I purchased it from a store at the bottom of the rue Henri Monnier in the 9th.

    Camille – Aah, that’s a good point but see, everything is smaller in France, including hobbits! :)

  • Tristan

    Thanks a lot Clotilde for the address

  • http://Http://fifthcolumn.squarespace.com Amy

    Eye spy a layout change? It’s fantastic!

  • http://www.xanga.com/leokandres Katy

    Hello! Long time lurker, first time writer. That soup looks divine. I work in South-East Louisiana, just across lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans, and I’m sure you are aware of the tragedy we endured three months ago with hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A new economy has developed down here, and I recently had a client pay me with a 50 pound sack of sweet potatoes!!

    I’ve had to become a bit inventive, and I made up some soup myself. I baked some sweet potatoes and then stewed them in vegetable broth with onions and chili peppers before pureeing (sp?) them with some coconut milk. YUM! Now I just have 40 pounds of potatoes to go, and your soup sounds like a winner.

  • http://tascadaelvira.blogspot.com/ Elvira

    Yummy!

  • http://vinodea.blogspot.com/ Sara

    Decadent and hearty, Clotilde you spoil us with your grand creations!

  • http://gloriousfoodandwine.blogspot.com/ Andreea

    I love soups and winter is the best time to cook and eat them. Thank you for the tips on this new soup combination.
    For non-Parisians like me, I found that Ikea also has very similar soup bowls.

  • SALLI

    Made the soup last night. Good, but I made it too thick, and I think it needs a “green” note. Next time, I’ll try to add a bit of cilantro.

  • http://www.annecuisine.blogspot.com Anne

    After 12 years in France and most of them spend with my French in-laws at Christmastime, this is the first time I’ve heard of céleri-rave en purée for the holidays. I’m constantly amazed that after this full decade (et qques poussières) I’m STILL learning new things in France! Merci!

  • gaelyn

    clotilde, this is an old post but i have wanted to make this soup for a while. i was going to make it tonight and was wondering do you know of any substitutes for celary root? it is rather expensive to cook for a crowd so if you know of anything-

  • gaelyn

    well i went ahead and made it with jicama sinse it looked like it might be similar in texture and the flavor is extrememly mild and celery because i heard that it tasted like celery. it may have varied but the soup turned out really nice and i’m having some for lunch today as well! thanks for the yummy recipes.

  • Dianne

    Sounds yummy..What is a easy way to
    peel the celery root Thanks from the
    land of enchantment New Mexico,but I
    love Paris”

  • Steve

    Clotilde:

    I made this soup for a party of 50 the other night.

    Peeling several pounds of celeriac and sweet potato was quite the chore!! I used chicken stock from the freezer instead of water.

    Still came out a bit thick but everyone thought it was yummy.

    Next time a bit more liquid.

  • Elisabeth

    Arriving at the party very late, but reporting a further development: Being a vegetarian, I tend to look for wormholes in recipes where I can drop in an extra bit of protein, and last time added a bit of quinoa with the vegetables and a small tablespoon of peanut butter after the pureeing stage. The quinoa thickens the soup quite a bit, so more water/stock may be necessary.

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