Happy New Year!
Have you heard about this blizzard that's coming tonight? I'm no stranger to winter storms. I grew up in the north east and spent several winters in the midwest. A little snow doesn't scare me (ice, on the other hand, completely scares me but that's another story.) Yesterday, as my family was grocery shopping, we were approached by some news reporters wondering if we were "planning to stock up before the storm." Nope. Just grocery shopping as usual. The thing is, we only have so much space in our refrigerator. I don't have the luxury of excess pantry space or an extra freezer. And besides, I live in the city that never sleeps so theoretically as long as I'm able and willing to go get something from the outside world, it can be done. Still, I thought about what my day might be like tomorrow if all three of my kids were home and my babysitter couldn't come and I was unable to work. I'd probably want some food on the ready so I didn't have to think about at least one meal. I took a quick look in my veggie drawer and discovered root veggies practically begging to be used: celeriac, rutabaga, parsnip. It was time for them to take center stage.
I basically threw all of the ingredients together (recipe below) and let this sit on the stove on very low heat for hours. Seriously, it's *that* easy. It's been a hectic day so when I finally had the time, I pureed it, added cayenne pepper and some dill to garnish. Delicious! Admittedly, I've never cooked with celeriac before. I bought it with the intention of experimenting. I was afraid that the celery flavor would be overwhelming but it wasn't. The soup itself is hearty without being overly starchy. It's rooty without being overly earthy. The flavors are sweet and mellow and the added cayenne makes it wonderful. It's going to be perfect to heat up and eat while watching the snow come down tomorrow.
Winter Root Soup
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 celeriac bulb (celery root), peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 rutabaga, peeled and cut into chunks
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1 teaspoon of salt or salt to taste
fresh dill (I used about 1/4 of a bunch) plus some to garnish
7 cups of water or stock
cayenne to taste
In a medium soup pot, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat. When the onion becomes translucent, add the root vegetables and stir. After a few minutes, add the salt, fresh dill and water and bring to a boil. Simmer for a couple of hours or until veggies are very soft. Add cayenne (to taste – I added 1/2 teaspoon) and puree with a stick blender. Garnish with dill.
Note: this soup is vegan, dairy free and gluten free. You can absolutely use chicken or beef stock in place of water and if you choose, you can add 1/2 cup of milk or cream if you're looking for a creamy soup.