Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Celeriac Soup with Kale & Truffle Pesto

I officially declare this the last soup recipe of the season. Now that the evenings are getting lighter and the weather is perking up a little, we won't need their warming qualities much longer. But this one was so good that I just had to share!

The soup itself is smooth, velvety and has a delicious depth of flavour. Celeriac is a corker of a root and I love it both cooked and raw. It'll be perfect for slaws and salads going into Summer! My Kale pesto is tinged with Truffle oil which gives it a real earthiness. This pesto recipe made just over a ramekin of pesto, this was enough to garnish 2 soups and also dress pasta the following night.

To serve 3 comfortably, or 4 as a starter, you will need:

For the soup:
1 large Celeriac
1 large white Onion
2 sprigs of Thyme
2 Celery sticks
1 litre Mushroom stock
Smoked salt (optional)
Black Pepper
1 tbsp Coconut Oil

For the pesto:
Handful of Kale leaves
1 small clove of Garlic, crushed
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tbsp Pine nuts
2 tsp Truffle oil (optional)

To garnish:
1 tbsp Pine Nuts (toasted)

First roughly dice the onion and slice the celery sticks. Melt the coconut oil in a deep saucepan set on a medium heat. Add the onion and celery to the pan, mix through the thyme leaves (no stalks) and let soften for 10-12 minutes. You are only looking to soften the onions, not to brown them.

Use a large knife to cut away the rough outer of the head of Celeriac. Chop roughly into inch-wide cubes and add to the pan with the onion and celery. Mix together and cook for 15 minutes, stirring regularly. 

Make up a litre of stock - I like to use Mushroom stock as it's not at all overpowering and the slight earthiness works well in this soup. You can use any vegetarian stock you like to use. I try to make my own vegetable stock regularly to freeze but when I run out I use 'Kallo - Organic Mushroom Stock' as they're the best shop-bought stock cubes I've tried. Add the stock to the pan and bring to the boil then let simmer for at least 30 minutes. Take off the heat and blend well using a hand blender. I often like a chunky soup but this one suits being super-smooth.

Now for the pesto! Put all of the ingredients into a mini blender and blitz until you have a coarse green paste. You can also do this in a pestle and mortar if you fancy using a bit of elbow grease. 

Before serving season the soup with a little salt and pepper. I used smoked salt but normal salt flakes or celery salt would be fine. The faint hint of smokiness worked well with the other flavours and if you haven't tried smoked salt before then I urge you to - it's a dream with some mashed avocado, or many other things for that matter.

Serve the soup with a dollop or swirl of the pesto - what's your style? I'm a swirler, for sure - with a few toasted pine nuts to finish. You can use the grill or a small pan to toast the pine nuts in no more than a couple of minutes.