I do realise I'm luckier than a lot in that my children are great eaters but all the same I have the odd challenge with getting them enthusiastic about certain things. If you've been hanging out here for a wee while you'll know that Challenge Number 1 is 'the dreaded' salmon. Number 2 is soups.
Whilst there are days when my girl makes me want a lock on the fridge door, it's the boy who sets a greater challenge. He's the one who won't touch my squash soup but wait .. before you close the computer lid and run off, let me explain. Yes, he had stomach pains and two days off school as a result but in my defence, it was neither my recipe, nor my cooking, but the usual back to school lurg doing its rounds now that school has opened once more. The fact they're all dropping like flies and I'd only fed the one is a bit of a giveaway 😉 . So we're obviously talking about some kind of food association thing but let's work on that some other day.
My method now for turning foods from villain to hero is simple. I just keep on serving it right up, and I don't ever give up trying. I'll start with small portions, gradually building up those quantities along with a little friendly advice such as 'try it again and find me some great adjectives to describe your acute horror at being served this offering' 😉 . Sooner or later it'll be eaten up without even a thought of a complaint and then, dare I say it, even enjoyed. Quel horreur! It's certainly worked over time with other things, such as the likes of salad, liver and sardines.
Well, my friends (and she dusts her hands off and begins way too much self congratulating for decency) 'tis but done. And all it took was this soup. I always know I'm on to something good when my boy pricks up his ears, that lovely face lights up and he takes notice after his first mouthful. I have to confess he surprised me a little with this one, I really didn't expect him to like it that much. At all, actually. I mean, everyone else loves it but there is no meat in this bowl for our resident carnivore, not a whole heap of fat for our resident nutrient seeker but yes folks, there is pear. And pear he loves!
Elegant this soup may be but celeriac is full of flavour and it is such a great partner for a lot of other foods. It will sit quite happily amongst the gutsiest of vegetables or fruit and is equally content with the most delicate. Ooh before I forget, a note about salt. My salt of preference for cooking is this one, however for this particular soup I like to use a white salt, such as this one.
Btw, I recently cracked Challenge Number 1 as well. Just thought I'd nonchalantly throw that one in! You can have that recipe another time ..
celeriac and pear soup
Be mindful about not colouring the leek as it softens, you want this soup to be as pale in colour as possible. For the same reason, choose a pear that has a nice white, firm flesh, such as the Bartlett mentioned below.
Print the recipe here
1 tbsp solid white fat (I like duck fat)
1 large leek (white part only), chopped
1 large (1.2kg) celeriac, peeled and cubed
3 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cups (750ml) light coloured chicken broth
1 cup (250ml) filtered water
juice 1/2 lemon
1 tsp salt (I used this one)
finely chopped parsley to serve
Heat the fat in a large casserole and add the leek. Sweat for 5 minutes or so until softened, being careful not to colour them. Next add the celeriac, pears, bay leaves, chicken broth, lemon juice and water, bring to the boil then immediately turn down to a simmer. Cover the pan and continue simmering until the celeriac is cooked through, approx 40-45 minutes.
Remove the bay leaves and pour the soup into a blender and whizz till really smooth. You may need to do this in batches. Make sure to leave the feeder cap open to allow steam to escape, or else your soup will explode out of the blender!
Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently if necessary. Add salt to taste. If you prefer a thinner soup, add chicken broth or water in small quantities until you achieve the desired result.
Serve in warmed bowls with a sprinkle of the parsley.
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