Spring Elixir: Creamy Celery Root and Leek Soup

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

The days are growing longer and the daytime temperatures are teasing us into thinking spring is truly here.  The winter hellebores are joined by the gorgeous crocuses, the early daffodils are unfurling their trumpets while the lilacs are shyly opening their buds alongside the red maples boldly showing off their red leaves awakening from their winter slumber.  The birds are a cacaphony of song.  Spring is here.

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Our tastebuds are also awakening from heavy winter foods and are craving fresh flavors.  I find early spring with its chill still in the air is one of those in between seasons as far as food is concerned.  A spring soup was my solution to satisfy my urge for spring cooking while still finding comfort from the fickle weather.  Celery root, also called celeriac or root-celery is related to leaf celery without any of its fibrous texture.  It is grown for its knobby underground root and is more popular in Eastern and Northern Europe.  It has a distinct delicate celery flavor but it cooks up with a velvety silky texture, ,much like a cream of potato soup.  It is low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of vitamins K, C, B and essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, copper and manganese(nutrition-and-you.com).

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Don’t let the prehistoric looking skin of this root vegetable scare you off from its tasty delicate flesh.

As you peel away the other skin, the vegetable looks very much like a turnip. The flesh will turn a bit brown when exposed to the air.

As you peel away the outer skin, the vegetable looks very much like a turnip. The flesh will turn a bit brown when exposed to the air.

image image The puree soup was so rich and smooth, it did not need the addtion of milk or cream.  It was a bowl of all vegetable goodness. To add a note of brightness, I drizzled some Meyer Lemon Olive Oil for a dose of omegas 3s, over the top and sprinkled a bit of bacon.  You could alternatively serve it with a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche with some chopped chives.  We were bowled over by this nourishing, equally satisfying, lighter soup.  Spring is here.  Grab your spoon and dig in.

Creamy Celery Root and Leek Soup

Adapted from David Lebovitz

  • 1 large bulb of celery root, peeled and chopped in chunks
  • 2 leeks, white part only, sliced (or 2 shallots or 1 small yellow onion)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T unsweetened butter
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3 c of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 c water
  • black or white pepper to taste, about 1-1/2 t
  • For toppings:  drizzle of lemon-flavored olive oil and some crumbled bacon)
  1. In a heavy soup pot, melt the butter and oil together.  Add the leeks and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic then the chopped celery root, salt then the broth and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to cook until the celery root is cooked through, about 45 minutes.
  2. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth.  Serve with a drizzle of ollive oil and chopped bacon or herbs.

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty six diferent kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”  Mark Twain

13 thoughts on “Spring Elixir: Creamy Celery Root and Leek Soup

  1. Johanne, I love celery-roots and leek in all kind of variations! And while your soup sounds very good, I think I want to tell you that (being from Europe) celery-roots and also leeks are definitely not a spring vegetable. They are seeded in the spring and harvested in the fall and can be (properly) stored for a longer use well into winter. Of course, nowadays you can buy almost anything from anywhere in the world any day of the year. Call me old-fashion, but when I grew up, these were not vegetables you could buy fresh in March or early spring. I am having a hard time making dishes in warm weather with these beloved vegetables. Luckily, our current weather does not know whether it is spring or still winter, so I am still enjoying my winter veggies!

    • Hi Helga. I always love to hear from you! I know celery root is a winter vegetable but it was using it in a lighter soup for a transitional meal out of winter toward spring I intended to write about. You are so right about having lost the distinction between true seasons with our vegetables coming from all over the world. One delicious exception I know you will soon celebrate is white asparagus which is just incomparable from that in Springtime Germany! One day I will fly over just for that!

      Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Nice Johanne, just lovely! Although, I must say when I saw the first picture, I thought (brain) too. Isn’t it tres exciting to see all those spring flowers emerge? The magnolias are out in full bloom and the weeping cherry is about to burst forth here. Happy times, although the next few days not so. Anxiously awaiting Tuesday 🙂

    • It does look like a brain! Such a fun veggie!! Looking forward to Tuesday as well Loretta. Get ready for some awesome food: those International women know how to cook!

      Johanne Lamarche

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  3. Thank you for featuring one of my favourite vegetables, and one that is barely known in this part of the world. Your soup looks delicious, and the spring flower pictures are a delight. We still have that to look forward to, but it shouldn’t be long now.

    • i think the virtues of this vegetable are overshadowed by people not knowing how to use it. hopefully this post will have encouraged some cooks to try it. what is your favorite way to eat it Hilda?

      Johanne Lamarche

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  4. I saw both in the store this week, the first time I’ve seen them in a long time…then your post!! Well guess where I’m going tomorrow, lol, to get celery root and leeks!! 🙂 You make this sound so delectable I can’t wait to try it!! (plus I love David Lebovitz!)

    • such a fun vegetable to work with isn’t Mollie! if you look at comments a German friend des ribes how they make it in Germany. i bet it’s still cold enough in MN to have soup too! we are getting snow tomororw while the magnolias and cherries are blooming everywhere! Ides of March!! let me know how the soup turns out. David Leibowitz had a bit of hot pepper in there, 1/8 t, which you’d probably enjoy. xo

      Johanne Lamarche

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      • Thanks Johanne – I’m still in SD helping out the folks, but it DID snow today!! And that was what I said, Ides of March…et tu snowstorm!! Nothing is blooming here, yet…miserable prairie weather!!

      • Sending you wonderful PA spring bulbs in bloom. 🌷🌷🌷 home is -10 today w snow….spring was never anything more than dirty snow melt up there. I am impresssed you are still so active in spite of your devotion to your parents in SD Mollie. you are such a good daughter!

        Johanne Lamarche

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