Celeriac and Blue Cheese Soup with Celeriac Crisps

The celeriac at the allotment is far from ready; having been sown a few weeks ago, it is only just emerging from the seed compost. Nonetheless its a day for a soup today, and I bought a celeriac the other day; reduced to a matter of a few pence due to a rather unnecessary best before date. Celeriac teams brilliantly with blue cheese, and as if planned, I have a bit of Danish Blue cheese in the back of the fridge. I like to make use of all we have in the fridge and take great pleasure from managing to combine leftover bits into something delicious. The celeriac and blue cheese combine to produce a really smooth soup, but to complete the dish it needs something with contrasting texture. For a long while I’ve been interested in the idea of making vegetable crisps, so I experimented with celeriac crisps as a crispy garnish for the soup. It works well, continuing the flavour, but adding a different texture to the dish.

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You will need (enough for 4)
A small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
750 g celeriac
1.5L stock (I had some chicken stock which I’d made from a roast, but vegetable stock would be good too)
50g blue cheese
Oil for frying

Slowly sweat the onion and garlic until softened and translucent. Meanwhile, peel the celeriac. Use a peeler to peel enough ‘crisps’ from the celeriac, before cutting the remaining root into dice. Put the peeled ‘crisps’ to one side and add the diced celeriac to the onions and garlic. Cook for a few minutes (you don’t want too much colour on the vegetables), then add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes or so, or until celeriac is tender. When the celeriac is soft, pour the contents of the saucepan into the food processor or liquidiser and blitz til smooth. Add the blue cheese and whizz a little more, before reheating.

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To make the crisp garnish, heat oil to a depth of 2cm and when the oil is at a hot enough temperature add the saved celeriac peelings. Cook for a few minutes until the celeriac starts to turn a little golden, before removing and placing on kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. To serve, pour into bowls and place the crisps in the middle of the soup, a twist of black pepper wouldn’t go a miss.

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