If spaghetti squash is the oddest vegetable I’ve ever worked with, then celery root is by far the ugliest. Harsh, I know, but look at it. Knobby, rough texture, no vibrant colors. But like Mom always said, it’s what’s underneath that counts; and underneath is a cream colored flesh with a slight nutty flavor.

Celery Root

I’ve never done anything with celery root before but have had this quiet desire to coax a soup out of one some day. When I saw some on sale at the local Whole Foods I felt it was time. This is a very winter soup with the addition of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. The celery root is faint, but present.

Sweating Leeks, Carrots and Garlic

The best way to remove the rough outer skin is simply with a quick pass or two through with a vegetable peeler. From there you can remove any deeper blemishes with a paring knife. For some reason this really dried my hands out and I haven’t figured out why. Keep that in mind while your handling it.

Celery Root Bisque with Butternut Squash

Celery Root Bisque with Butternut Squash
An easy way to clean leeks is to soak then in water while chopping the other vegetables. When ready to use, just scoop them out.
1-1 1/4 pounds celery root; peeled and chopped
3/4 pounds butternut squash; peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato; peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves; minced
2 large leeks; sliced (to the greens)
1 yellow onion; chopped
8 cups of water
1/2 cup heavy cream; approximately (I used half & half simply because I had it)
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon or more to taste

Sweat the leeks, garlic and onion with some oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven for 10 minutes. Once the onions are translucent, add the remaining vegetables with the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat and let cool.

Either blend in batches with a standard blender or all at once with an immersion blender, adding cream until you get a nice creamy texture. Add the salt to taste.  Optionally, a bit of ancho chili pepper for a kick.

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5 Responses to “Beauty Underneath – Celery Root Bisque with Butternut Squash”

  1. Lydia says:

    Some people have an allergic reaction when they peel squash. It’s called contact dermatitis. I know, it’s crazy, right?! My roommate looked it up after it happened to her: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butternut_squash#Preparation.2C_precautions.2C_allergic_reactions

  2. Wow, this absolutely happened to me too when I was preparing butternut squash soup. I know that I’m allergic to the inside of pumpkin (which is very upsetting for me!), but I didn’t know about other squash as well. Thanks!

  3. Chef Edwin says:

    And here I was accusing the noble celery root. Such a fool I was…

    Thanks for the tip.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I get contact dermatitis from both celeriac and celery, so I suppose it could be either the squash or the root!

  5. Chef Edwin says:

    Interesting. I may have to throw myself into oncoming traffic, so to speak, in order to determine the true cause. Dun dun DUN.

    Thanks for the tip.