Celeriac and Bacon Soup

“Celeriac is the most beautiful vegetable I have ever seen” said no-one ever.

With its knobbly appearance and its mousy greenish brown exterior, Celeriac looks a lot like nature’s keepsake from the Jurassic period.  This ugly sister is in fact the cousin of the rather more fortunate looking anise, carrot, parsley and parsnip. Despite her pitiable appearance, Celeriac with its subtle celery and parsley flavour has forever stolen my heart.

I am currently obsessed with celeriac and would eat it all the time but for the fact that it is very expensive.  My one local is selling celeriac for R75 per kg and the other is selling them for R50 each regardless of size.  Whoa! So not only is my beloved tuber very ugly it is also rare???

Now my brief encounter with economics at UNISA leaves me to conclude that clearly there is not enough celeriac coming from the ground.  Hence, I will be embarking on a one woman crusade to persuade farmers all around the country to plant more, much much more celeriac.  I will let you know how it all turns out.

If you are just meeting celeriac for the first time, a proper introduction.  Celeriac is also known as celery root, knob celery and turnip-rooted celery.   Here is the best part, half a cup of celeriac contains only 30 calories and no fat, and unlike many root vegetables, celeriac contains very little starch.  When it is raw.

And thankfully, we will not be eating it like that.  Instead, we are about to turn it into the most deliciousness ever, and in all probability we are going to double up the calorie count.  But, tomorrow is a public holiday, Women’s Day nogal, and everybody knows that calories consumed on a public holiday don’t count.



Serves 4

What you need
1 large celeriac (about 700g), peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
125 g bacon, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup cream

What you do

  1. Place all the celeriac, onion, garlic, bacon and celery in a roasting dish.
  2. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in a preheated oven at 180˚C for about 20 minutes until fragrant and just starting to colour.
  4. Transfer to a saucepan and cover with the milk and the stock.
  5. Bring to the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Puree using a processor or stick blender.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Finish with the cream and serve with croutons and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Have a safe and restful long weekend friends.

2 Comments on Celeriac and Bacon Soup

  1. Kit
    August 11, 2013 at 6:23 pm (6 years ago)

    Wonder if we could grow it here? Mind you if it’s that delicious I expect our monster moles would eat it!
    You have me wanting to try it now, having never bothered when I was in the UK where I’m sure it was much cheaper.

    • Sam Taylor
      August 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm (6 years ago)

      Reading up on celeriac it seems it takes a long time to grow which could account for it being so scarce. Its not a vegetable commonly used. I am glad however that I have already got one farmer on my side. Pumps fist in the air!! Truth be told I am not a celery lover, but adore celeriac, go figure.


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