Serves: 8 * Recipe minimally modified from Cooking with the Seasons by Monique Hooker
I have always had reliable chefs in my life who I can call up for a tried-and-true recipe, cooking tips, kitchen-work-arounds, etc. Even though I have my late mother’s 200+ page family recipe cookbook to lean on, there are other role models in my life who I strive to mimic for numerous reasons. One is Monique Hooker, my mom’s very dear friend and professional chef.!
Monique exemplifies important cooking rules I‘ve adopted into my own style: cook with what’s in season, incorporate what I like to eat into new recipes whenever I can, and while recipes are a great base from which to start – always use my instincts, eyes, nose, and ears when working with food! I’ve selected this recipe as it is not only a crowd pleaser, but quite simple to throw together (when you get past the idea of working with a new recipe, a new ingredient, or a new method of preparation). Here’s to something new!
Monique’s Ruby Beet & Celery Root Soup
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound beets, peeled & coarsely grated
- 1/2 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled & coarsely grated
- 4 cups chicken stock (additional recipe on page 375 Cooking with the Seasons)
- 1 cup water
- 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, & coarsely grated
- 1 tsp caraway seed, crushed
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche (optional) (recipe on page 379)
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- Salt & pepper
- In large pot, sauté onion in oil until translucent, about 2 mins. Add beets, celeriac, stock & water.Bring to boil, then lower to simmer & cook for 20 mins.
- Stir in apples, caraway seed & vinegar. Season with salt & pepper to taste, then simmer for 20 mins. more.
- Serve soup in bowls garnished with dollop of crème fraîche & parsley, if desired.
- Beets combine well with other root vegetables. Instead of celery root, turnips, parsnips, or parsley root make good flavor combinations.
- Instead of caraway seeds, other seasonings might include celery seeds or celery leaves, dill seeds or dill weed.
- Crumble bacon bits on top of the soup before serving.
- Sour cream may be used instead of crème fraîche.
By grating root vegetables like beets & celery root before making soup, two things are accomplished: cooking time is cut in half and all the sugar in the root is released quickly, which sweetens the soup naturally. Occasionally, mature roots will not be as flavorful as they should, so I add a bit of sugar to taste in the pot at the beginning of the cooking time.