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November 30, 2011

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

Serves 4.


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.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Kalyn | November 30, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I have never cooked celery root, but since I love celery I bet it's a natural for me to like the root. And I bet the bacon adds a lot of good flavor.

Posted by: CJ McD | November 30, 2011 at 11:59 AM

I love celery root in soups with a potato base. I often give them a little potato-celery mixture a little mash and a splash of cream or milk before adding the bacon.

This soup looks so good.

I've got a giant rutabaga in the fridge. Any soup recipes for that one? *S*

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving Lydia.

Posted by: dadolwch | November 30, 2011 at 02:14 PM

I love using celery root (or celeriac)! But when I buy it at the grocery store, they never know what it is. It's also great mixed in with root-veggie soups and pairs well with rutabagas and beets.

Best part for me is that celery-ish smell on your fingers after cutting it up.

Posted by: Marcia | November 30, 2011 at 03:27 PM

I grew celery root, but never got one that big! They will last
in the frig almost forever. Great recipe...can hardly
wait to try it.

Posted by: Lydia | December 1, 2011 at 07:26 AM

Kalyn, I don't see celery root in my market very often, and even when I do, I often pass it by because it seems like a lot of work. It's not, though.

CJ, rutabaga, eh? My husband loves it, so I often put it in stew. But I haven't made a rutabaga soup, so you've given me a challenge. I accept!

Dadolwch, same here. The checkout people always look at it like it's a space alien. But it's a wonderful, and overlooked, vegetable.

Marcia, I think you'll like this one. Just a hint of the celery flavor, and the smokiness of the bacon. Quite delicious.

Posted by: Andrea Meyers | December 5, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I really like celery root, roasted or in soup. Actually tried growing it this year and had success, but found that the worms and bugs liked it too. Oh well, we'll try again next year. Your soup sounds wonderful.

Posted by: Sheila Mehling | December 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM

I love this recipe. I like to experiment with food all the time and this feels like no exception. I think if you're not a big bacon person, then you can substitute later on.

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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