Slow-cooked Celery and Celeriac Soup

Because the vegetables are very slowly cooked, this soup has lots of lovely flavour, and it's quite satisfying and filling, particularly with some Celeriac and Lancashire Cheese Bread (see link at the end of the recipe).

Serves 6

This recipe is taken from Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Slow-cooked Celery and Celeriac Soup
 1 lb (450 g) celery stalks, trimmed and leaves reserved
 1 lb 4 oz (570 g) celeriac
 1 medium onion, peeled
 2½ pints (1.5 litres) hot stock made with Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder
 3 bay leaves
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
To garnish:
 2 tablespoons natural yoghurt or crème fraîche
 2 teaspoons celery salt
 a few celery leaves (see above)
 Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275°F (140°C)
You will also need a blender, and a lidded, flameproof casserole with a capacity of 6 pints (3.5 litres).


Just a word first about preparing the vegetables. You need to use a potato peeler to pare off any really stringy bits from the outside stalks of the celery.

The nice thing is that the outside stalks are fine for soups – so if you're using a whole head of celery, once you've weighed out the amount you need, you can keep the tender inside stalks for munching on.

Peeling the celeriac may mean you lose quite a bit of the outside, as it's very fibrous. Once that's done, weigh it (you need 1 lb/450 g) and cut it into large chunks.

The celery should also be cut into large chunks, and the same with the onion.

All you do now is pop the whole lot into the casserole, then add the stock and bay leaves, along with some salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Bring it all up to simmering point on the hob, then put the lid on and transfer it to the oven to simmer very gently and slowly for 3 hours.

After that, remove the bay leaves, allow the soup to cool a little, then blend in batches until smooth. (A large bowl to put each batch in is helpful here.)

Then, return the soup to the casserole and bring it back to a gentle simmer, tasting to check seasoning before serving.

Serve in hot bowls with the yoghurt (or crème fraîche) spooned on top and the celery salt sprinkled over, garnished with a few celery leaves.

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