Need a cream soup that’s not a calorie bomb? We’re here for you. Our Cream of Celeriac (aka Celery Root) and Celery Soup is hearty but not overly filling.
Which means you can enjoy this as a first course, and still have plenty of room for the main and dessert.
Perfect for warming up your guests.
This dish bears a family resemblance to Cream of Mushroom Soup.
And it’s every bit as tasty, though not nearly as rich. Which, after the holidays, is what many of us are looking for.
Classic cream soup recipes often use flour as a thickener (as does our Cream of Mushroom Soup). Some modern versions use a purée of potato or rice instead. We don’t find any of those necessary for this soup — puréed celeriac thickens the soup to the perfect texture for our taste.
Prep time for this recipe is about 15 minutes. Cooking time adds about 30 minutes. You can easily prepare this dish a day or two ahead of time, then reheat it when ready to serve.
This dish serves 4. Leftovers will keep for several days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ½ stick butter (2 ounces)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 to 6 ribs celery, cleaned and finely chopped (to taste; see Notes)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- ~ 1½ pounds celeriac, peeled and chopped into ½-inch dice (see Notes)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ to 1 teaspoon dried thyme (to taste)
- ¼ to 1 cup cream, to taste (about ½ cup for us; see Notes)
- garnish of chopped parsley (optional)
- garnish of sliced or chopped prosciutto (optional)
- Place a 4-quart stock pot or saucepan over medium stovetop heat. Add the butter and heat it until melted. Then add the onion and celery, and season to taste with salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent but not browned.
- Add the celeriac and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and thyme. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer until the celeriac is very soft (15 to 20 minutes).
- Use an immersion blender to purée the celeriac mixture until it reaches the consistency you prefer (we’re OK with a slightly chunky texture; see Notes). Add cream to taste, then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary.
- Ladle up the soup, garnishing (if you wish) with parsley and/or prosciutto.
- If the soup tastes a bit flat, you could add a squirt of lemon juice right before serving to perk up the flavor.
- You can make this soup a day or two ahead of time, then refrigerate it in an airtight container. If you go this route, you may find you need to add a touch more cream after you’ve reheated the soup to “refresh” the flavor.
- Cream adds a lot of richness to this soup. We find that about ½ cup is right for our taste, but use as much or as little as you prefer.
- You could substitute sour cream for sweet cream in this dish if you like.
- Celeriac alone actually gives this soup a creamy texture. So you can skip the cream if you want – although you’ll lose some flavor.
- We recommend using a metal immersion blender to purée the soup (plastic shafts can crack in hot liquid).
- No immersion blender? You can use a regular blender or food processor to purée the soup in batches (don’t add too much hot liquid to a blender at one time; otherwise you risk blowing the top off from steam).
- You can also run the liquid through a food mill (use the disc with the smallest holes for the best texture).
- BTW, an immersion blender often doesn’t completely liquify the soup (there may be some chunks of vegetable left). So for a perfectly smooth soup, use the immersion blender first, then run the soup through a food mill or a blender (we’re not that fancy, so we usually don’t do this).
- The amount of celery you use in this dish is up to your discretion. We like to use 4 large ribs, but anything up to 6 or so should work.
- Celeriac can be a bit of a pain to peel. Our method is to first wash it (it tends to be dirty). Then we cut thin slices off the top and bottom. We set the celeriac on its bottom end, then use a large knife to peel it from pole to pole, much as we’d cut the skin off an orange.
- You could use a sturdy swivel peeler, although we find the knife method easier.
- Once cut, celeriac discolors easily. You can rub it with a cut lemon to slow down that process – though we don’t bother because we cut it up right before adding it to the soup pot.
- As discussed in the headnote, when making cream soups, you can add some diced russet potato or a tablespoon or two of rice for more body (we add it when we add the stock and cook it until soft). We like the texture of this soup just as it is, but if you want an extra thick soup, you could consider this.
- Or you could add a couple tablespoons of flour to the cooked onion and celery right after you’ve added the celeriac (at the beginning of Step 2). Cook the flour for a couple of minutes to form a roux. Then add the stock and proceed with the recipe. Again, we don’t think the texture of this soup needs it, but that’s an option if you want a thicker soup.
- We like to use thyme in this soup, and at this time of the year we’re using dried thyme rather than fresh. Since the quality of dried thyme is generally good, that’s no loss.
- You could substitute another herb of choice if you prefer.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If using table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- We don’t think this soup needs black pepper. But by all means have some available at table so diners can add it if they disagree.
- BTW, the prosciutto garnish looks nice and its flavor also pairs delightfully with the cream. And its salty flavor adds a touch of tang to the soup. You can skip it, but it really does enhance the dish. We use anywhere from ½ slice to 1 slice of prosciutto per serving.
- If you use sour cream instead of sweet cream in this soup, substituting smoked salmon for the prosciutto might be interesting. We haven’t tried this, but like the idea.
“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “We should use celery more often in soups.”
“Don’t want you to feel like you’re being stalked,” I said.
“That joke was painful,” said Mrs K R. “Maybe we should call this Scream of Celeriac.”
“Perhaps another helping would be thymely?” I said. “To ease your suffering.”
“Yes,” said Mrs K R. “Unlike the prosciutto, I still need to be cured.”
Mrs K R. She’s my souper ego.
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