The Ugly Beauty – Celeriac

Celeriac is one of my favourite vegetables, especially during winter. Sadly it’s not that attractive to most people.  Like the ugly boy or girl who gets passed by at the dance party, celeriac sits on the shelves of most green grocers for a long time.  Haven’t we learned yet that it’s not the looks that count but the inner beauty – the flavour, the inner soul of the ugly duckling?

VictorsFood - cooking classes & corporate cooking classes - celeriacCeleriac is a kind of celery which is a root vegetable which has a faint taste of celery.  It’s not easy to clean, but if you’re ready to take a little time to get to know it, it’s inner beauty will surprise your taste buds. When married with other vegetables such as potatoes, it brings soft, long lasting flavour to a dish.  I am hooked on it as it brings me to one of my favourite winter recipes Celeriac Soup (recipe below), which we often teach in our French Bistro autumn and winter cookery courses.  It’s a simple recipe, but so lush. Everyone thinks I put cream in it, but it’s only chicken stock blended with onion, leeks, potatoes and celeriac.

VictorsFood - corporate cooking - cookery courses - food tours - celeriac soup crab croutonI make it a bit more special by floating a roquefort cheese crouton on top when serving.  It’s absolutely delicious, perfect for winter and something your fans will love over and over again.  Do any of you use celeriac or do you pass it by because it’s the ugly vegetable?

Celeriac Soup


125 gm unsalted butter

½ onion, chopped

½ leek, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 small celeriac (about 1½ kg), peeled and chopped

2 Desiree potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 litres chicken stock

60 ml (¼ cup) cream (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat, add the onion, leek and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.
  2. Add the celeriac and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and chicken stock. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the celeriac and potatoes are cooked. Remove from the heat.
  4. Using a blender, process the soup in batches until smooth. Pass through a strainer and season. Pour a tablespoon of cream into each bowl if you like.

Note: You can substitute vegetable stock and eliminate the cream if you want to keep it completely vegetarian. Serve with croutons.

Serves 6-8

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