Friday, February 2, 2007

Roasted Celeriac And D'Anjou Pear Soup

Gnarled celeriac, golden winter pears, deep green and pristine white leeks, saucer shaped cipolini onions, fresh fragrant thyme. These were the character players which when combined, made up a stellar ensemble cast that gave a performance fit for an Oscar. (Okay, the Academy Awards are coming up and I admit to looking forward to watching every minute of them.)

Readily available during our winter months, celeriac and juicy D'Anjou pears, while an unseemly couple to the eye, are actually perfect for each other.

Roasted, sauteed and blended into a rustic soup, this will please the most discerning palate. Oh, how I do go on!

Plus, in deference to son Jeff and daughter-in-law Amy, who painted my living room and utility room for my birthday, it's vegan.

Give it a try, I think you'll like it.

Roasted Celeriac and D'Anjou Pear Soup
Christine's Original Recipe
Ingredients:
1 very large or several medium celeriac, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cipollini onions, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large leeks, cleaned and coarsely chopped
3 D'Anjou pears, cored and cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup dry white wine (I used a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc)
1 quart Vita Soy Classic Original soy milk
Olive oil
Earth Balance Natural Margarine (trans-fat free, vegan)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper*

Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large roasting pan, combine the onions and celeriac pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and season with kosher salt and several grindings of pepper.
Cover with foil and roast for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue roasting for another 15 minutes or until the vegetables attain a golden brown color and are slightly caramelized.
Remove the vegetables to a large pot.
Place the roasting pan on a stove top burner set on medium high heat and deglaze with 1/4 cup of the white wine, scraping up all the caramelized bits. Pour this into the pot.
In a saute pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and about 2 teaspoons of Earth Balance (not the whipped kind) over medium heat.
Add the chopped leeks and saute until soft. Don't allow them to brown.
Add the sliced pears, ginger and thyme and continue to saute until the pears are softened and the whole thing is wonderfully fragrant. Pour this into the pot.
Deglaze the saute pan with the remaining white wine and pour into the pot.
Turn the heat on under the now full pot to medium and bring the contents to a simmer.
As it heats up, it will thicken.
Slowly stir in the soy milk and bring the mixture back to a simmer. It will thicken as you do this. Keep on stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the soup to cool for about 20 minutes.
Using a blender, blend in small batches, leaving about a cup of the soup unblended to give it a rustic quality.
Adjust the seasonings if necessary and serve.

Cook's Notes:
* Freshly ground white peppercorns may be used instead of black pepper.
Butter, cream, and/or 1/2 and 1/2 may be used if preferred.
A light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg wouldn't hurt either.

8 comments:

Mimi said...

Amazing! How would you describe the taste,, Christine?

I cannot find celeriac here. But I can sort of imagine the taste of this.

Good job!

sher said...

I imagine that tastes so good! Why can't I find celeriac in Davis more often? That's a wonderful recipe Christine!

Christine said...

Mimi,
I should have described the taste in my Cook's Notes. Think of a salad of sliced juicy pears and finely sliced fresh celery. Now gently roast those flavors to a golden, sweet, nutty deliciousness. And there you are!

Hi Sher,
I'll bet Nugget has celeriac. It's a more cool weather crop than those grown in the valley, so it's quite prevalent up here.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You make it sound so incredible! A fitting dish for the painter! Lucky them and you.

Mimi said...

Christine, now I am craving pears! Oh, this is one of the best orginal recipes I've seen. Gotta find celeriac!

Jann said...

What a perfect combination-i can taste it now!

Christine said...

Thank you so much Tanna.

Mimi, I should alter my description of the soup's taste. Fresh celery can't compare to the nutty, earthiness of celeriac. It's really in a class by itself.

Hi there Jann, Glad you enjoyed this!

COOK'S NOTE: Bosc pears would be delicious in this soup. They are juicier than D'Anjou and hold up well to cooking. Notice that I didn't peel the pears; the skin, when blended, helps to thicken the soup.

Anonymous said...

Better late than never it looks delicious, I love the picture of the celeriac in it's unpeeled state!!
Anne