All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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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.
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.
Vegan Puree of Celery Root Soup with Jalapeno & Caramelized Balsamic Pears
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!