Monday, April 1, 2013

Celeriac sunchoke soup (+ list of good soups) & Pablo's menu

There's something magical about soup. Something about finding a perfect osmosis of ingredients. About creating such an interesting dish, in color, in texture, in flavor, such a delicate dish from the rough fruits of the earth. The French word "velouté" for soups says it all (basically a soup that's blended and smooth). It means "velvety". How inviting. Sensual even. 

In more practical considerations, it is such a great way to start a meal, it makes the perfect vegetable first course, so easy to make, and convenient (you can make ahead, freeze). Yet you can get really creative with the combinations, with the accompaniments, from crème fraïche or heavy cream, to coconut cream to pesto. Infinite possibilities. It has been quite the fun food for Pablo as he has learned to drink from his bowl. And a perfect way to introduce new flavors, new vegetables. (With the warm season, I'll be making more and more cold soups as well.) 

So sometimes I share poetry, sometimes inner ramblings, sometimes parenting thoughts. And sometimes, I like to share lists. Because they're kind of useful, right? So I'd love to share 10 soups we've really enjoyed recently. Nine + 1 recipe here. In no particular order.

1. Cold pea soup from Tastefood
3. Apple celery root with smoked trout from Cannelle & Vanille
4. Beet soup from Mowielicious
5. Watermelon tomato almond gazpacho from Cannelle & Vanille
6. Lentil leek soup from Vanilla Bean
7. Pumpkin coconut soup from Lovely Pantry
8. Carrot ginger soup from Deer Eats Wolf
9. Cream of fava beans with goat cheese from My Little Fabric

... and this celeriac sunchoke soup recipe I'm sharing today.

Do you have any great soup recipes or links to share? Please do so in the comments! Let's form a soup exchange! :-)

Hope you have a lovely week, scroll down further for Pablo's menu this week...

Celeriac sunchoke soup with cilantro hazelnut pesto

Inspired by a celeriac soup we recently had at The Black Cat Bistro in Cambria, California

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Age for babies: 6 months and up (skipping the pesto at first).

1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 celery root, peeled, cut up
1 pound of sunchokes, peeled, cut up
6 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Handful of fresh cilantro
3 tbsp of hazelnut oil

In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook over medium heat until translucent (don't let them brown).

Add the water, celery root, sunchokes, salt and pepper, bring to a simmer, cover and cook over medium low for about 20-25 mn, until the vegetables are tender. 

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a blender until very smooth.

Put the cilantro and hazelnut oil in a small food processor and pulse until cilantro is finely chopped. 

Pour the soup in bowls, and with a small spoon, stir in some of the cilantro pesto. Add additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Cheeses of the week: Following French tradition, I always offer a little bit of cheese at the end of every meal, between the main course and dessert. Rotation this week: Brie de Meaux, Goat brie, Petit Basque (sheep).

DessertsAt lunch, I offer a fruit yogurt (or plain yogurt with fresh fruit), but at night, I prefer sticking to plain yogurt (regular homemade* whole milk, sheep’s milk, goat's milk and Greek yogurt for extra protein) to avoid too much sugar before bedtime.

If you would like a particular recipe on the menu, feel free to contact me! (I marked with a * the recipes that will be the topic of upcoming posts).


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Cucumber in creamy tarragon yogurt sauce
Main course: Ham & hard boiled egg (one of the pink ones from Easter :-)),  flageolets beans French-style (leftover from Easter lunch!)

Goûter (4pm snack) – Chocolate pudding

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Butternut leek fennel soup
Main course: Buttermilk-brined chicken thighs, fingerling potatoes


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Boiled leeks with vinaigrette
Main course: Mushroom prosciutto Comté cheese tartine*

Goûter - Pear-blueberry compote

Appetizer / Finger Foods: Green bean, cauliflower, tomato salad
Main course: Bison patty and creamy rosemary carrots baked in parcel*


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Grated carrots French-style
Main course: Trying this harvest (sweet potato, chards, onion) tart recipe found on Food Loves Writing

Goûter – Apple-mint compote

Appetizer / Finger FoodsSpring pea salad
Main course: Albacore with avocado and cilantro, baked in a parcel*


Appetizer / Finger Foods: Leftover grated carrots French-style
Main course: Sardines, baby bok choy puree

Goûter - Mango compote

Appetizer / Finger FoodsArtichokes with vinaigrette
Main course: Oven roasted mustard pork tenderloin, peas & carrots jardinière


We'll see what good things we find to eat! Perhaps urchin and oysters at the San Diego Farmer's Market?

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  1. What a lovely list of soups. We're heading into autumn here so soup is definitely on the cards to warm us through. No link or recipe as such but I do love a chicken soup. A flavoursome stock and whatever veggies on hand to chase the winter chills away. I love reading your posts Helene, so inspirational and thoughtful. My one year old is going through a stage of refusing to eat when I feed her. Then my husband comes along and she quite happily eats the food she was outright rejecting only moments before! Very frustrating but I keep your advice in mind and try to stay calm. Can't say it always works but I try:)

    1. Thank you so much, Jane. I know what you mean, it's not always easy, we can only do our best, moms are people too ;-) Hey, at least it's not about the food if she'll eat with your husband... Pablo's been known to test me in similar ways, and I still swear by the kind nonchalance MO... Hang in there!

  2. love a good soup! esp since spring doesn't seem to be on its way here .. how odd I also did a hazelnut and celeriac combination ages ago, but I think your pesto idea is brilliant! and since you said to do a soup swap, my favourite is a carrot coconut and cardamom soup

    have a good week you and pablo! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Shu Han, will try both your soups very soon, love the idea of cardamom coconut carrot soup, such a great original combination! I like cardamom but am never sure when to use it. Have a great week too! :-)

  3. Oh I have been living off of soups this week. We all came back from Denver with a nasty cold and my soups in the freezer have been keeping us fed all week. Thank goodness for frozen soup that comforts so when it's warmed up!


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