It’s been a long cold winter this year and everyone is anxious for spring’s welcome arrival. In these last few weeks of drawn-out gloom it’s so important to nourish yourself and your family with foods that help to drive away the winter blues. A hearty, wholesome, nourishing soup is my cure for the gray, rainy, last days of winter.
Soups don’t have to be fussy or overachievers.
Soups can be simple, made with only a few rich, warming ingredients. This recipe is a perfect example of a simple, ingredient driven soup that has been thoughtfully refined and delicately presented.
Soup should be seasonal.
In this recipe I highlight three outstanding winter ingredients. The beautiful and subtle leek, the earthy and humble celery root, and salty, smoky bacon. Leeks make their first appearance in autumn and can be found through the end of winter. I like to choose the giant fat leeks grown on our local farms. They are fresh, crisp and delightfully creamy when cooked. Celery root, also know as celeriac is a variety of celery that is grown for it’s large bulb shaped root. It has a delicious distinct flavor and keeps well over the winter months. BACON. We can all attest to bacon’s supreme reign over other preserved meats. From breakfast, to dinner and even dessert, bacon has a place on our tables!
This recipe serves 8-12
12 Ounces Sliced Bacon
3 Extra-Large Leeks
1 Large Celery Root (weighing around 1 1/2 pounds)
12 Cups Chicken Stock
1/4 Cup Sour Cream
2 Tablespoons Milk
Salt And Pepper To Taste
Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch strips. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat cook the bacon just until it starts to crisp.
While the bacon is cooking trim both ends of the leeks. You will remove the roots and also the tougher green foliage (reserve the greens). Slice the leek stalks length wise and check in the outer layers for dirt and sand. Wash the leeks well if needed. Cut the leeks into 1/2 inch slices and set them aside.
When the bacon is ready remove it from the pot with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel covered plate. Set the bacon aside. Turn the pot down to medium. Add the cut and cleaned leeks to the pot and sauté them in the hot bacon fat. While the leeks cook you can peel your celery root.
Once peeled, cut the celery root into medium sized chunks (think the size of an egg). When the leeks are soft and translucent add the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the fond (caramelized sugars) from the bottom of the pot. Add the celery root and bring the pot to a gentle boil.
Cook the soup until the celery root is soft and fork tender (around 30 minutes). Using a handheld blender purée the soup until it’s smooth. Add salt and pepper, tasting the soup as you go. Bacon can sometimes have more or less salt so this is an important step and the reason I do not give a specific amount.
In a small bowl mix the sour cream and milk. Take the leek greens and pull back the outer leaves. Use the very tender centers to slice thin little rounds to garnish the soup.
Serve this soup with Mama’s Coconut Oil Drop Biscuits and garnish it with a drizzle of sour cream, the reserved crispy bacon and fresh leek tops.