Beige and Sage Celery Root Soup

9 Dec
by Francine

What, you may ask, is celery root?A photo of Celery Root

It has been described as one of Mother Nature’s homeliest vegetables and unlikely to win any beauty pageants, but this root vegetable has intrigued me ever since I read about it a few years ago, while I was researching all things cooking and living in a bustling Chinese city.

Celery root and stalk celery are close cousins. One is harvested for its bulking root and the other harvested for its crisp green stalks (perfect for peanut butter spreading).

I searched for the perfect recipe, one that would allow me to taste celery root’s full flavor without other ingredients taking over. I ended up creating my own recipe after reading many and considering what I had in the kitchen—butter, garlic, chicken stock and bottles of dried sage.

During my recipe research I read over and over that you shouldn’t try to peel the celery root because it’s of its gnarly roots. (The recommended peeling method is to slice off the skin, invariably losing some of the the vegetable in the process.) Mark Bittman of the Minimalist even warned that you’ll probably just end up breaking your vegetable peeler.A photo of the peeling processThese warnings only made me more curious. I wanted to peel my celery root—mainly because I only had one and I wanted as much white flesh as possible to make it into my soup. But also wanted to peel it because I wanted to know what would happen…would my vegetable peeler really break?

Well…I can tell you that is possible to peel celery root without breaking your peeler (although I did chip a finger nail).

A photoI suppose it’s important to note that this assessment of possibility is coming from a girl who once cut an iron sided squash on her kitchen floorThe less intense way of getting this root peeled is to slice off the knobbly skin. In this video you can see Bittman peeling and slicing celery root in a way that will preserve your vegetable peel (and your lovely nails).

Here’s the recipe I came up with…warning it’s lick-the-pot yummy!

Beige and Sage Celery Root Soup

serves 2
  • 1 celery root, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-8 whole dried sage leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (or more to get your desired soup consistency)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

A photo of the soup


1.  In a pot over medium high heat, melt butter and add dried sage leaves.  Allow the sage leaves to cook in the butter for a few minutes to release their flavor.
2.  Add garlic to the pot and sauté for a few more minutes until the flavor has released.
3.  Add the cubed celery root. Stir together so that the butter lightly coats the celery root. Continue cooking over medium heat for 10 mins.
4.  Then add the stock and allow it to simmer until the celery root has softened. (You can tell the celery root is soft enough when you can mash it like you can mash a potato.) It should take about 15-20 mins.
5.  Once the celery root has softened, use an immersion blender to puree the soup to your desired consistency. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a potato masher to make a chunky soup or you can put the soup in the blender to make a smooth soup.
6.  At this point, if you think the soup is too thick, add more stock, water or even milk to get it to your desired soup consistency. Add nutmeg and salt according to taste.A photo of the soup
7.  Time to eat!

Do you have a celery root recipe to share? If you haven’t tried celery root, I encourage you to do so. Its delicate flavor is very appealing.

PS. Thanks to Luke for suggesting the name of this soup and for taking lovely photos of the finished soup!

6 Responses to “Beige and Sage Celery Root Soup”

  1. simplydelish December 9, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Thanks for sharing! Seems like a simple yet easy soup to make

  2. Susan December 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    This sounds like a very easy and delicious soup. I like how you added nutmeg. I enjoy using my emersion blender and always marvel at how quickly a lumpy chunky texture changes to velvet. Thanks for the recipe and will give it a go soon.

    • realocalcooking December 14, 2011 at 9:40 am #

      Hi Susan! I agree immersion blenders do great things. Have you gotten yourself some celery root yet?

  3. Rachel December 14, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    When I saw the picture of the finished product soup the first thing that came to mind “that is so francine!” looks fantastic and a recipe I am going to try!

    • realocalcooking December 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

      Haha! Nice! I hope you try this soup sometime soon. I loved it!

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