Winter isn’t winter without the distinct flavor and smell of celeriac.
And winter isn’t really winter in the southeast.
So as temperatures started to drop in the area these past couple of weeks, it became clear that winter needed to be celebrated with a thick pureed soup to welcome the mild January cold notes that remind me of much colder weather in Wisconsin and Boston.
This simple soup gets its wonderful texture from the silky-smooth addition of pears while the crispy bacon helps create the overall seasoning.
And starting the new year with a comfort dish makes the heart grow fonder for new adventures in the coming year.
Bonne année !!
Celeriac Soup with Pear and Bacon
2-3 oz (55-85 g) of bacon, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 Tbsp of fennel seeds
1 Tbsp of tarragon, chopped,
2 leeks, white and green, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (80 ml) of oaked white wine
2 lb (905 g) of celeriac, peeled and cut in chunks
1 medium Russet potato, peeled and cut in chunks
2 organic pears, 1 pear peeled, cored and cut in chunks, 1 pear washed, cored and thinly sliced
3 cups (70 cl) of water
3 cups (70 cl) of vegetable stock/broth
1 teaspoon of sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1 cup (25 cl) of coconut milk
other herbs as needed for serving (chopped thyme, rosemary, or parsley)
Preheat the oven to 350 °F (180 °C) and line a baking sheet with foil. Cook the bacon in the oven until crispy – depending on taste. Set aside.
In a heavy pot, heat up the olive oil.
Add the onion and shallot, and cook for 4 minutes on medium low until soft.
Add the fennel seeds, the tarragon and the leeks, and cook for another 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the wine and cook until absorbed and evaporated.
Add the celeriac, the potato and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
Add the pear and continue to cook for 1 minute.
Add the water and stock, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium high. When starting to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
When the vegetables are ready and tender, use a hand-held mixer to puree the soup or use a food processor. Taste the seasoning and adjust the salt, pepper and tarragon if necessary.
Serve the soup in individual bowls. Mix 1 Tbsp of coconut milk in each bowl before serving. Arrange thin slices of the second pear, bacon chunks, pepper, and chopped herbs on top of the soup. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of coconut milk on top and serve.