Posts Tagged ‘autumn soup’

Double celery soup with lentils and gremolata

11 November 2021

It has been a beautiful autumn in London. Apart from the occasional dreary day, it is often sunny and remarkably mild. Still, autumn is here and soup beckons.

And so the latest instalment of my ‘things I discovered while going through the fridge’ soups. I could not have planned it better had I intended to make exactly this. But once again, it was created from the happenstance entrails of the fridge, which today yielded celery stalks and root (celeriac), and not much else. Also a couple of rather sad looking bunches of cilantro and parsley. Serendipity.

The persistent memory of a lunch years ago at ABC Kitchen in New York under the masterful hands of Dan Kluger — of all the things I had there, lentil soup with celeriac and gremolata is the dish I remember! — nudged the idea.

This one is very simple. I didn’t have any broth on hand but water was enough with an assertive dose of onions and garlic, which should be plentiful, always.

Double celery soup with lentils recipe

3 to 4 medium onions
Olive oil
1 celeriac root (approximately 500g)
1 whole celery (stalks)
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
Water (or 1 litre chicken stock if available, plus more water to cover if needed)
250g Puy (or small brown) lentils
Bunch of parsley and/or cilantro
Zest and juice from 1 lemon

Peel and cut the onions into small dice.

Pour a little olive oil into a saucepan, wait a few seconds for it to warm up, and slide in the chopped onions. Cook (‘let sweat’) over medium to low heat, remembering to stir occasionally, while preparing the other vegetables.

Meanwhile, trim the celery stalks at both ends, wash with cold water, and slice fairly thinly.

Peel the celeriac and wash it if the flesh has become grubby from leftover soil. Cut the celeriac in two, then each half, cut size down on a cutting board, into strips about 1 1/2 cm (1/2 inch) wide. Thinly slice the strips into pieces approximately similar thickness to the celery stalks.

The onions should have become translucent by now. Add the celery and celeriac to the pot, stir, cover, and cook, still over fairly low heat.

Peel, squash with the blunt of a knife, and slice the garlic cloves. Add it to the pot.

Salt generously (about a tablespoon), stir, then cover the vegetable with water (or broth) until just submerged.

Cook over medium to low heat (there should be a constant but languid simmer) for 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the lentils.

For the gremolata: wash and pluck the leaves of the parsley/cilantro, zest the lemon, and peel and very finely chop a clove of garlic. In a smallish bowl, mix a handful of the leaves with the lemon zest and garlic, and pour in a little olive oil. Stir and set aside.

Add the lentils to the soup and cook at a slow simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes.

Before serving, remove the soup from the heat and let it sit for a few minutes to cool down.

Serve the soup with a generous spoonful of the gremolata (and a little chili too!).


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