For my next installment of French country cooking, I wanted something fairly simple, yet seasonal. This winter vegetable soup seemed perfect.
I had to trek to a couple of grocery stores to find celery root, though around here that’s not all that surprising. This soup is perfect for a cold winter’s night, and it will warm you up night after night without getting boring.
This soup was worth the trouble it caused me: the vegetable scraps clogged my garbage disposal and sink. Whoops. I’ll refrain from going into detail, but let’s just say that it wasn’t a pretty sight.
Soupe Savoyarde (Winter White Vegetable Soup)
recipe from The Country Cooking of France
1 small celery root
2 large potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 cups water
2 ½ cups milk
12 baguette slices
4 tablespoons butter
5 ounces gruyere, shredded
Peel and quarter the turnips, then slice ½ inch thick. Peel the celery root and cut into eight wedges, then slice ½ inch thick. Peel the potatoes and cut into small chunks; place potatoes in a bowl of cold water.
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft but not brown, about five minutes. Add the turnips, celery root, and leeks; season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Press a piece of aluminum foil directly on the vegetables. Cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Sweat the vegetables for twenty minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
Drain the potatoes and add them to the vegetables. Add the water, cover the pot, and simmer until the vegetables start to get tender, about 25 minutes.
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until its steaming, but don’t let it come to a boil. Add the milk to the vegetables and taste for seasoning. Cover the simmer lightly until the vegetables are very tender, about 20 minutes. Do not let the soup boil, or the milk will curdle.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Heat the remaining butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the baguette slices to the pan and crisp on each side. Top the slices with gruyere and place on the bottom of soup bowls. Ladle hot soup over the bread and serve immediately, so the cheese is melted but the bread remains crisp.
Leftover soup will keep in the fridge for about three days