Celeriac and Apple Soup with Parsley and Thyme Oil | Dani Valent

Celeriac and Apple Soup with Parsley and Thyme Oil

Why can't soup get a little fruity?

I often find myself thinking about ways to use regular ingredients in unusual places. Why can’t we use fruits in savoury dishes and vegetables in sweet dishes? That’s one reason I love last week’s Blackberry Pumpkin Pancakes so much. It’s also why I’m a big fan of this celeriac soup with the sweet spark of green apples.

If you consider the perennial debate about whether tomatoes are a fruit or a vegetable (they’re a fruit – don’t yell!), then the division between fruit dishes and veg dishes does seem a little arbitrary. There’s also something delightful about colour-matching produce as with this dish of pale greens. I remember when I interviewed legendary French chef Alain Passard, he told me about the way he gathers each day’s vegetables and fruit and arranges them like a bouquet then waits for inspiration as the ingredients start whispering to him, telling him what they want to be matched with and in what sort of dish. Often, he said, items of similar colour would desire to be together.

I was thinking of this concept again recently when chatting to my friend Alice Zaslavsky about her upcoming book In Praise of Veg. The chapters in this book are also arranged by colour.

And so to this soup, which takes the various greens of celeriac, apples, parsley and thyme and jumbles them together in a healthy soup. It’s a marvellous medley, a humble symphony, a beautiful bouquet of warming tones and cool weather flavours. I hope you find the idea intriguing and the taste magnificent.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

Parsley and thyme oil

  • 15 sprigs parsley
  • 10 sprigs thyme
  • 300 grams (10 oz) vegetable oil (I use rice bran)

Celeriac and apple soup

  • 1 brown onion, halved
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 kg (35 oz) celeriac, trimmed, peeled and chopped into 5cm chunks
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into 5cm chunks
  • 2 small (or 1 large) green apples, peeled and halved
  • 500 grams (17 oz)chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To serve, optional

  • stale bread
  • olive oil
  • butter

Traditional Method

Parsley and thyme oil

1. Warm herbs and oil in a small pot until the temperature has reached 60°C (140°F)

2. Transfer to a blender and blitz until combined. Line a sieve with a clean, folded kitchen cloth (eg. Chux) and place over a jug or bowl. Pour mixture over it, allowing flavoured oil to drip into jug or bowl. Discard pulp. Transfer oil into a jar or container. It will keep in the refrigerator for a month. 

Celeriac and apple soup 

3. Chop onion and saute in oil in a large, heavy-based pot.

4. Add celeriac, potato, apple and stock. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft.

5. Use a stick blender to puree soup. Season to taste.

To serve

6. If using, cut stale bread into cubes and pan-toast to golden brown in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

7. Place soup in serving bowls, drizzle with herb oil and dot with croutons.

    

Thermomix Method

Parsley and thyme oil

1. Place herbs and oil in mixing bowl and blitz 1 min/speed 10. Heat 6 min/60°C (140°F)/speed 6

2. Line a sieve or steamer basket with a clean, folded kitchen cloth (eg. Chux) and place over a jug or bowl. Pour mixture over it, allowing flavoured oil to drip into jug or bowl. Discard pulp. Transfer oil into a jar or container. It will keep in the refrigerator for a month. 

Celeriac and apple soup

3. If continuing after making oil, scrape out well including the lid. 

4. Place onion in mixing bowl and chop 4 sec/speed 4.5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl.

5. Add olive oil and saute 3 min/100°C (212°F)/speed 1.

6. Add celeriac, potato, apple and stock. Cook 20 min/100°C (212°F)/speed 2 or until vegetables are soft.

7. Blend 1 min/speed 10. Season to taste.

To serve

8. If using, cut stale bread into cubes and pan-toast to golden brown in a mixture of butter and olive oil.

9. Place soup in serving bowls, drizzle with herb oil and dot with croutons.

    

Tips

  • Replace parsley and thyme with herbs of choice. See also Phil Wood’s Bay Leaf Oil, which is delicious in this soup.
  • Use leek instead of onion to boost the pale green tones.
  • Fry bacon or chorizo cubes and use as an alternative garnish.
  • The parmesan crumb from Darren Robertson’s Parsnip and Jerusalem Artichoke Soup is also a great garnish.

More about this recipe

  • If you reckon your kids wouldn’t eat celeriac, check out this inspiring chat with veg-enabler Alice Zaslavsky.
  • Want more soup recipes? I think you’ll love these.
  • You can make Egg in a Jar with celeriac mash.
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