Monday, 12 March 2012

Celery root, leeks and almond cream soup

The weather has been playing tricks over the past two weeks.

Hot and sunny days unexpectedly broke the long siege of winter
and we experienced a glimpse of early summer.

We took off our coats, left our scarves and hats in wardrobe drawers and joyfully ran out of the house door to make the most of this exceptionally mild weather.

We knew it could not last long, though.
Temperatures dropped down again, and a greyish sky fell heavy on us.

I got a sneezing cold and reluctantly had to return to my winter clothes and routines, which include, of course, cooking comfort food - such as a cream soup - to warm myself up.

As I wrote in a previous post, soups are amongst my favourite dishes during this time of the year, and I always make some for dinner. The kind of soups my husband and I grew up eating (and probably rejecting as little kids): minestrone, pasta e fagioli (beans and pasta soup), pasta e ceci (pasta and chickpeas soup), passato di verdura (mashed/processed vegetables soup) tuscan ribollita and different kinds of vellutata (cream soup)

I like the term 'vellutata'. It comes from the italian word 'velluto' (in english, velvet). It perfectly conveys the idea of a smooth and soft texture.

A good vegetable broth and single – or double – cream are essential elements to get a perfect cream soup, as they provide this dish with that peculiar consistency that should be neither not too liquid, nor too thick.

I have always been intrigued by the idea of using vegetable milk instead of dairy cream in cooking this celery root and leeks vellutata. Browsing through different foodblogs and magazines I've found many excellent ideas, which include coconut milk amongst the ingredients, but we found it a little too sweet in flavour (beside the fact that my husband R. is a little bit conservative in his tastes), so this time I added a thick homemade almond milk to the soup, and enjoyed it pretty much.

We really loved this recipe, and I would appreciate to have a feedback from you; nonetheless feel free to experiment with other vegetable milk products (ever tried with oat milk cream??) or ingredients and let us know your preferences.

Ingredients for the soup (serves 3 to 4):

celery root: 260 gr / 9 oz – peeled and diced
leeks: 115 gr / 4 oz - sliced
onion: 85 gr / 3 oz - chopped
filtered warm water, or broth: 1000 ml / 4 cups
ginger powder: 1/2 tsp
nutmeg powder: 1/4 tsp
salt: to taste
extra virgin olive oil: 3 TBSP

Ingredients for the almond milk:

almond butter: 1 + 3/4 TBSP.
filtered water: 180 ml

for garnish:

flakes of roasted almonds: 1 TBSP
rosmary sprigs: 2

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add three teaspoons of raw vegetable stock (if you are using it) and ginger powder and cook for a couple of minutes. 

Reduce heat to medium low then add onion, leeks and celery root and cook until softened for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning the ingredients.
Add warm water (if you are using raw veg stock) - or broth (if you are not using it at all) to cover the vegetables, bring liquid to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce heat again, cover the pot with a lid, and cook for 20/30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile make the almond milk: whisk almond butter with cold water in a medium size bowl until you get a smooth almond milk.

Puree the vegetable soup in a blender, add almond milk and stir well. Season with salt and spices (nutmeg and pepper I would suggest) to taste.

Serve in individual bowls, garnish with rosemary sprigs and almonds.


Russell at Chasing Delicious said...

Scrumptious soup recipe! I'm loving the ingredients and flavors in this. Yum!

Roberta said...

Thank you Russel! I love them too! :-))

"pose"gourmande said...

j'adore ces jolies photos

Eileen said...

Almond butter in a soup? Wow, I would never have thought of that! I'll have to give it a try. :)

Roberta said...

'Pose' Gourmand, merci pour le commentaire!

Eileen, thank you for visiting and living a comment, :-)
As for the almond butter...I love it so much it really ends up in almost every dish I cook!

Katiuscia said...

Fino a questa mattina pensavo che ormai basta zuppe, è ora di insalate...poi vedo questa ricetta con le tue foto e capisco che entro pochi giorni la devo assolutamente fare.
Dico sul serio, le tue ricette mi restano in testa e nel cuore.
(Inutile dire che ancora penso a quella meraviglia di panna cotta al passion fruit...prima o poi sarà mia!)

Roberta said...

Grazie Katiuscia,che belle parole!
La zuppa è molto 'versatile' ed è buona anche fredda, vai tranquilla quindi, si adatta bene anche a temperature quasi estive!
Fammi sapere se ti è piaciuta!

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