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 with 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
- 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.
- Add the onion and celeriac, stirring, and allow to cook for 8 - 10 minutes until the onion has softened and the celeriac has colored.
- Add the cabbage and chickpeas, again stirring and allowing to cook for another few minutes.
- 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.
- Toast the crostini on both sides and lightly rub with the garlic clove.
- Place a slice of toast in each bowl, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and grate some parmesan cheese on top.
- Ladle in the soup, and top with parsley and some more extra virgin olive oil.