Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is a VERY easy soup to make.  The caramelized balsamic pears REALLY make it, too, so do not skip them.  They come together very fast & will impress your neighbors immensely.

I drizzled a little olive oil on this soup – which isn’t necessary but it looks pretty & gave me a chance to try my Rosemary & Crushed Red Pepper Infused Olive Oil.

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I must say, the oil has been brewing since June 6th & is still only VERY subtly infused.  Maybe I should muddle the herbs & spices a bit?  I don’t know.  I will experiment.

But this soup!  Healthy & delicious!  This makes quite a lot of soup so be prepared for leftovers. These sorts of soups age well in the fridge over a day or two – but they often need a bit of water added in the reheating, sometimes quite a lot.  So – don’t be afraid to add as much water as you need to get it to your desired consistency.

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Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears

INGREDIENTS

1 TBS + 1 tsp olive oil

1 small onion – chopped

4 celery stalks – chopped & then divided into two portions

1 leek – sliced (white part only)

2 garlic cloves – chopped

3 celery root (about baseball size) – peeled WELL (get all that rough brown & hair off!) & diced

2 medium potatoes – cubed

2 jalapenos – seeded & chopped

4 Bosc pears – peeled & seeded

7 cups vegetable stock

S&P to taste

4 TBS honey

2-4 large rosemary sprigs (more for garnish – if you like)

2 TBS quality balsamic vinegar

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the honey in a saute pan over med-high heat.  When bubbly, add TWO (reserving the other two) of the pears & the rosemary sprigs to the honey and, stirring constantly, cook until the honey is almost cooked off & the pears are soft & beginning to brown.

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Add the balsamic & cook for another minute or two – being very careful not to burn the glaze.   Carefully (that glaze will burn you!) transfer to a bowl & set aside.  Soak your pan immediately.  That honey-balsamic glaze is HOT & will become like cement fast.

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If you like a 100% pureed soup – skip this step.  I like a little bit of something in there to chew.  Heat 1 tsp olive oil & saute HALF the sliced celery stalks to the oil & saute until soft – without browning.  Maybe 2-3 minutes.  Drain on paper towels & set aside.

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Be sure you have removed all the brown & coarse, hairy bits from the celery root.  Otherwise, you will be spitting what feels like hairballs into your napkin later.  Not fun.  Or pretty.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the jalapenos, onion, the remaining half of the sliced celery (or ALL of it – if you are skipping the step above) & the leek.  Saute until soft but not browned.  Add the garlic for a few seconds then add the potato, celery root, the remaining two pears & all the stock.  Bring to a rapid boil then reduce heat & simmer about twenty-thirty minutes or until everything is very tender.

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When the vegetables are tender either use a blender (immersion or otherwise) or a food processor to puree the soup until it is very smooth.  Add more water if it is too thick for your taste.  If you sauteed the 2 celery stalks, add those to the puree now.  Add S&P to taste.

When ready to serve, discard the rosemary from the pears, heat the puree & then pour some into bowls & top with about 1 TBS of the caramelized balsamic pears & maybe a sprig of fresh rosemary.   Drizzle with olive oil (infused, if you have it) & add some fresh cracked pepper & go to town!

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