The turkey is in the oven, the house smells like heaven and your guests are whetting their appetites. Here's a recipe that will both please and surprise them, giving a glimpse of what is to come as they begin a feast at your table.
Apple and celery root (also known as celeriac) soup is velvety and slightly sweet, with a note of celery in the background and a pleasing crunch of salty bacon to compliment the apple. I found it truly amazing that this rather ugly looking root vegetable can make a soup that is so delicious! Celery root gives meaning to the phrase "don't judge a book by it's cover". Apple celery soup is accessable in terms of both flavors and ease of preparation.
This recipe can be made a day ahead of time, reheated and arranged just prior to serving. The soup can be served as an amuse bouche ( a small bite before the meal begins) or as a thick soup after the appetizer course.
Apple and Celery Root Soup with Bacon and Chive Oil (adapted from http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/239846)
Serves 6-8 as a soup course
1/2 stick butter
4 cups celery root, peeled and diced (about 1 1/4 lb celery root)
3 cups (2 medium) empire apples*, peeled, cored and cubed
1 large onion, diced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup chives, chopped
1/3 cup safflower oil
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
3 slices thick cut bacon** cooked and finely crumbled
Melt butter in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery root and apples. Stir to combine. Cook until onions are soft and begin to become translucent. Do not brown. Add chicken broth and a pinch of kosher salt. Simmer covered for 45 minutes, or until celery root is soft, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.
In small batches, puree soup in blender being careful to vent the top and allow steam to escape. Pulse the hot soup several times, increase to blend and then to liquify. Return soup to pot and add salt and pepper to taste.
Puree chives and oil in blender until smooth.
Pour soup into bowl. Drizzle or dot chive oil on top of soup (I use a cheap condiment container from the Dollar Store to place the chive oil on the soup). Add a small mound of bacon crumbles to the top and serve.
*Any firm and tart apple can be used, such as Granny Smith.
** Pancetta, or Italian bacon, would also be great in this recipe.