Celeriac undoubtedly makes one of the most superb Winter soups. In parts of France, such as the Savoie where cheese plays an important part in the cuisine, the soup is frequently topped with croûtes of toasted cheese.
Celeriac is that ugly looking bulb, hard to peel because of the lumps and bumps, but makes the most smooth soups.
Croûtes are pieces or slices of bread which have been grilled with cheese on top. These are floated on top of the soup. These are optional, of course, but delicious. Make them thick or thin, use Gruyere, or Parmesan or whatever cheese you have at hand.
Soupe au Celeri-Rave | Celeriac Soup with Cheese Croûtes
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into julienne
squeeze lemon juice
1 small potato, peeled and finely diced
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 leek, trimmed and cut into matchstick strips
900 ml light vegetable stock or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 – 6 slices French bread
65g Gruyere cheese, grated
Plunge the celeriac into a bowl of water with a little lemon juice added as soon as it is cut (to prevent discolouring).
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the drained celeriac, potato, onion and leek. Cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes, shaking the saucepan several times to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
Pour in the stock and milk and add a little seasoning. Bring to the boil, then simmer the soup, covered, for 10 minutes.
Lightly toast the bread on both sides and place the slices in a gratin dish. Sprinkle the grated cheese on the bread and grill until it is just melted.
Taste the soup and adjust the seasonings, then ladle into bowls. Float a croûte of toasted cheese in each portion of soup, and serve at once.
recipe notes and alternatives
This soup is a very gentle soup and depends a lot on the quality of the stock (as celeriac does not have a strong flavour). Make sure your vegetable stock is flavoursome and good quality. If you need to use water, consider adding some flavour elements like bay leaf, grated nutmeg, finely chopped celery and onion etc.