There are a few simple things that I utterly embrace during this season of gray. Warming cups of tea in the dark evening light, long walks in the drizzling rain while sufficiently bundled, a mantle full of lit candles while the flames in the fireplace whip below, and soup.
Steaming bowls of soup with a thick cut slice of bread and a slather of butter spread on like frosting. I’m certain I could eat that meal for week on end without feeling one bit sad about it. In fact, this time of year that’s pretty much what I do.
While I tend to shy away from cleanses and goals about diets that I will dismiss after day two, this time of year I do long for a reprieve from the holiday fare. A bowl of soup is quite possibly one of my favorite ways to disguise comfort with health. Over the last several years I’ve taken great pride in my soup-making abilities in that I’m able to whip up a smooth and creamy bowl that tastes, well, like it’s loaded with cream. And this recipe that I’m sharing today is my proudest soup achievement. The walnuts are added directly to the pot along with the vegetables. The key to a hearty, almost smokey flavor is to caramelize the vegetables until nearly charred in parts. The walnuts deepen color and add to the roasty flavor of the final soup. They also add an incredibly rich creaminess that mimics cream and butter like nothing I’ve ever tried.
The resulting soup is somehow decadent and does well with a bright lift from the lemon tinged Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Gremolata. It’s the sort of dish that perfectly strikes that balance of being utterly satisfying and yet also pleasantly healthful.
*This post was created in partnership with California Walnuts. The words, recipe, photos and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting me and the work I do by supporting the brands that partner with me.
Celeriac, Green Apple and Walnut Soup
Yield 4 servings
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium leek, halved, white and light green parts thinly sliced
1 large (1 lb) celeriac root, trimmed and roughly cubed
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 Granny Smith apple, core removed and roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts
1 medium potato, roughly cubed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Toasted Walnut and Rosemary Gremolata
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted, finely chopped
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, finely minced
Zest from one lemon
1 garlic clove, finely minced
For the soup:
In a large dutch oven set over medium high heat add the olive oil. Stir in the leeks and sauté until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the celery root, garlic, apple, walnuts, and potato. Sauté the vegetables and nuts are deeply caramelized in parts, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Carefully pour in the stock and add a couple of hefty pinches of salt and a good bit of freshly cracked pepper. Bring the pot to a rolling boil then cover mostly and turn down the heat so the soup gently simmers.
Once all the vegetables are tender carefully transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
Add more stock or a bit of water to get the desired texture. Taste and add more seasoning as needed.
Serve while warm with a generous shower of the walnut gremolata.
For the gremolata:
Combined the walnuts, rosemary, lemon zest and garlic in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and taste to adjust seasoning.
Store any leftover gremolata in a well sealed container in the fridge. Add to salads and soups as needed.
A food processor works wonders for the task of chopping all of these ingredients into a course sprinkle of sorts.