Potato, celery root and bacon soup recipe
A few weeks ago, I bought a big, gnarly celery root for photography practice. (There's a photo below, in case you've not seen a celery root before. Ugly, isn't it?) After I had my way with it, I peeled away the exterior and diced the pure white root for soup. Cooked celery root has a similar consistency to potatoes, so that seemed a natural pairing, and bacon... well, what can I say? Bacon gives this soup its sultry quality, but you can use smoked paprika or a squirt of barbecue sauce (and vegetable broth instead of chicken stock) if you prefer. Don't omit the fresh celery leaves at the end. They enhance the subtle flavor of the celery root and remind you that this is no ordinary potato soup.
Potato, celery root and bacon soup
1 celery root
3-4 large red-skinned new potatoes
3 slices bacon
1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 cups chicken stock (homemade or store-bought low-sodium) + 2 cups water
Leaves from three celery stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Kosher salt, to taste
1 Tbsp chives (optional), for garnish
Peel the celery root and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Cut the potatoes the same size, and set both aside.
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until it's crisp but not burned. Remove the bacon slices to a plate covered with a paper towel.
In the remaining bacon fat, sauté the diced onion briefly, until it is no longer translucent. Add the celery root and potato. Stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and water, and bring the soup to a boil. Then, reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celery root is tender.
Season with pepper (and, if necessary with salt, if you used homemade chicken stock). Stir in the celery leaves. Crumble the cooked bacon, and stir it into the soup. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, to incorporate the flavors.
Ladle into individual bowls, and top with chives.