Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Celeriac, Chickpea, and Cabbage Soup

After reading (yet) another soup recipe from me, Kate from Applemint recently threatened to dub me The Soup Queen. Well, I'm afraid The Soup Queen is at it again so hang on to your seats everyone.

I think I make so many soups because I have access to good seasonable vegetables through Walthamstow's two markets, one a traditional fruit and veg market and the
other a farmer's market. These two markets sell both quality and quantity of food, and I find it easy to get tangled up in over-zealous vegetable buying. I then often wind up with more vegetables than a vegetarian family of 7 would be able to tackle in a week. As it seems to be the case, the road to soups is paved with good vegetable intentions.

So what to do when you find yourself with extra celeriac, curly kale, and savoy cabbage on your hands? That's right, you make soup. A quick look around the cookbooks showed me that my wonderful River Cafe Cookbook Green had the perfect soup for me in it. It was one of the earlier cookbooks to organize recipes by season and month, and I still find it an excellent resource for helping me to do the most w
ith the ingredients that are abundant at the moment.

The celeriac soup isn't a tremendous departure from many soup recipes, but the addition of fennel seeds once again takes the flavor to a deeper and warmer place (my polenta shortcake earlier in the week showed off fennel seed's versitility with sweet things). The scent that came from frying the fennel was an intoxicating tempter that made you reconsider whether or not you actually need to finish the recipe before dipping your spoon into it.

I added kale to my soup and it fit in to the original recipe easily. I also used dried chickpeas despite my dislike of them, and my dislike was confirmed since those darn things didn't soften up even after 5 hours of boiling. I'm repeating the recipe as is, though, so you can make your own decisions. Do make sure you are generous with the parmesan cheese on top, though, which makes the eating of the soup that much more worthwhile.

For my abundance of vegetables and the wonderful fennel seeds, this is being submitted to Rinku at Cooking in Westchester for Weekend Herb Blogging.

Celeriac, chickpea, and cabbage soup
from River Cafe Cookbook Green

  • 800 g celeriac, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 200 g dried chickpeas, cooked, or 800 g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 500 g savoy cabbage, thick stalks discarded, and finely shredded
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 Tbs olive oil
  • 150 g pancetta, cut into fine matchsticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1.25 liters chicken stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 ciabatta loaf, cut on the diagonal to make crostini
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley

  1. Heat the 4 Tbs of oil in a heavy, large pot and add the pancetta, bay leaves, and fennel seeds. Cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
  2. Add the onion and celeriac, stirring, and allow to cook for 8 - 10 minutes until the onion has softened and the celeriac has colored.
  3. Add the cabbage and chickpeas, again stirring and allowing to cook for another few minutes.
  4. Add enough stock to cover the contents. Season with salt and pepper and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the celeriac is soft and the chickpeas have begun to break.
  5. Toast the crostini on both sides and lightly rub with the garlic clove.
  6. Place a slice of toast in each bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and grate some parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Ladle in the soup, and top with parsley and some more extra virgin olive oil.


Emiline said...

Sounds nice and hearty. I like fennel seeds, pancetta, and vegetable combination. I've never had celeriac before, but next time I see it, I'm going to buy it.

Have you ever had a savoy truffle? Like the Beatles song?

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

AnneMarie I really like the celeriac in this, a great new way for me to use it.
Did you use dried or canned chickpeas? If the dried are really old they may never cook properly. Canned should already be pretty much cooked. I really enjoy them.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

That looks delicious, as well as being super healthy and hearty. Must give it a whirl soon...

Helen said...

I too love cookbooks that are organised seasonally, Nigel Slater's 'Kitchen Diaries' being a perfect example. The soup looks delicious!

Cinnamonda said...

Greetings from Finland! I seem to be going through a soup phase, eating soup many times a week, so, thank you for this interesting recipe. I have actually visited Walthamstow market once or twice. I have a relative living in that part of London.

Julie said...

Sounds yummy...I don't mind if you post about soup everyday. I'm on a big soup kick right now, and am just getting one started for tonight. The fennel seeds sounds great, and I think I may add them to my soup--it's a bit Tuscan.

Annemarie said...

Hi Emiline - I've never heard of a savoy truffle or the Beatles song about that. Do tell about both!

Hi Tanna - thanks for the tip about the old chickpeas. I have so many bags of the dried beans I don't know their age anymore, which might be an indication that they were past it...

Hi forkful - It is very healthy, which makes going back for seconds easier, ethically. :)

Hi Helen - I agree, I love the Nigel Slater book too.

Hi Cinnamonda - I never realized that Walthamstow was known much outside of...well, east London, but there you go! Hope you enjoy another soup on your repitoire.

Hi Julie - I'm relieved to hear that soup isn't just my personal fascination. Hope yours came out well tonight!

Kalyn said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's making lots of soup these days. I do love soup, and especially soups with fennel seeds, so this is perfect for me. Parmesan cheese is a great addition too. Yummy!

ostwestwind said...

I like soups, I try to cook one once a week, but I only try.

Sounds great!

Peter M said...

First time visitor to your blog and I'm a big fan of soups that eat like a meal. Interesting use of fennel too!

helen coker said...

Sounds lovely, I'll have to give it a go! Re: your problem with the chickpeas - did you soak them overnight first? Also with pulses my understanding is that you shouldn't put any salt in the cooking water, as it stops them from taking up water... Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Hi, try soaking your chickpeas overnight (atleast 6 hours), otherwise it never cooks. I always use dried-chickpeas and never had a problem.