Recipe: Healthier Holidays with Fennel & Celery Root Soup

Celery root, or celeriac, is one of my favorite winter vegetables. It is low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and contains lots of beneficial vitamins and minerals, which we may not be getting from all those extra holiday cookies. Another one of my all-time favorite vegetables is fennel, which is filled with phytonutrients, fiber, potassium, and more! Together they make a richly flavorful soup that can be served either hot or cold. It is wonderful on its own, but can also become a more decadent meal with the addition of half & half or cream. 

Ingredients

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4 tbsp. olive oil
1 large fennel bulb, diced
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
1/3 cup white wine
2 med-large celery roots, peeled and chopped
1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and chopped
2 quarts vegetable stock
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
pinch of ground cayenne pepper, optional
1/2 tsp. freshly-grated lemon zest
Fresh dill and/or celery leaves, for garnish

Method

1. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the fennel and onion with 1 tsp. of the salt until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, taking care not to burn the garlic. Deglaze with white wine and allow the wine to reduce by half. 

2. Add the celery root, potatoes, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes and celery root are tender and cooked through.

3. Remove from heat. To purée, transfer soup to a blender or use an immersion blender in the pot. It is always best to leave a few ladles of vegetable stock in the pot - you can always add more liquid, but can never take it away! Once the soup begins to blend, adjust the amount of stock to reach the desired thickness. Add in the remaining salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Taste for seasoning.

Optional: Stir in 1/2 cup half & half or cream for added richness.

Garnish each bowl of soup with fresh dill and/or celery leaves. Serve with good, crusty bread and enjoy!