Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Celery-Celeriac Soup with 'Roquefort' Croutons

Celeriac is variation of the celery plant, used for its root rather than for its stem or leaves. This soup features both celery varieties for a double-dose of deliciousness. I recommend chopping all the vegetables before burners get lit and things get underway.

Melt a teaspoon and a half of vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 a cup thinly sliced leek and 1/4 cup chopped shallot; cook 5 minutes until tender, stirring frequently. (Remember when washing leeks to slice them first, then place in a sieve to rinse, since otherwise dirt can stick between all the layers).

Add 2 cups chopped, peeled celeriac (it might be labeled celery root in your grocery store), 3/4 cup cubed, peeled Yukon gold potato, 1/2 cup water, one (14-ounce) can of vegetable broth, one thyme sprig and one bay leaf. I had forgotten that I used up all my fresh thyme in a recipe a couple nights ago, so I just added about 1/8 tsp. dried thyme instead - whoops!

Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Next stir in 1 cup thinly sliced celery, 1/2 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Simmer for ten minutes but be careful not to boil.

Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf (and thyme, if you used a fresh sprig). Pour the mixture into a blender, and puree until smooth, then return to pan and stir in 2 tablespoons of vegan cream - I like the plain creamer from Silk best.

Next make the croutons: slice 4 (1/2-inch thick) slices of French bread baguette, and place on a baking sheet. Coat the tops with cooking spray. Broil for one minute. Turn over, and top each with one tablespoon crumbled 'cheese'. The original recipe called for Roquefort, which is a variety of blue cheese, so the nearest vegan option is the Soy Blue from Sunergia. Since the soy-based version doesn't melt quite as well though, I found it was easier to press it down into the bread slices, instead of just sprinkling it on top. Broil an additional minute. Let cool for one minute on the baking sheet, then cut each bread slice into 6 croutons.

Ladle one cup of soup into each of 4 bowls. Top each with 6 croutons. Each serving is 180 calories. This is best served immediately, so the croutons don't get soggy. Now stay warm! It's snowing out there...

leek $0.65
shallots $0.24
celeriac $4.25
Yukon gold potato $0.64
vegetable broth $1.49
'cream' $1.99
French baguette $1.29

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
  • Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html