Here's two bits of advice gathered at last week's Slow Food class about how New Yorkers can weather eating local in the winter months.
As fall turns into winter, unfamiliar vegetables are hanging around the farmer's market. Challenge yourself cooking with something different: turnips, rutabagas, a different kind of squash. Don't judge a celery root by its outward appearance. Ask the farmer working the stand and your fellow farmer's market shoppers for advice on how to best cook a food that's new to you.
Brining and pickling are the new old thing, as we've talked about here before. Pickling allows us to stash away summer favorites for cold winter days while brining makes sure meat stays succulent.
In this class, those of us who didn't pickle over the summer were encouraged to buy pickles produced by local artisnal pickle makers. The teachers said that brining something big, like a whole turkey, can be difficult in a small apartment, but said that everyone should try pickling next summer.
Ready for a soup that will let you be fearless and use boldly brined, local ingredients? After the jump is a recipe created by Jon Orren of Wheelhouse Pickes for a celery root soup garnished with pickled beet relish.
Jon Orren's Celery Root Soup with Top Shelf Beet Relish
Celery Root Soup
2.5 lbs celery root, peeled and cubed
4 ribs celery, cut into medium dice
1 medium white onion, cut into medium dice
2 T unsalted butter
5 or 6 sprigs thyme
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
2 C whole milk
3 C cream
1 C uncooked white rice
Salt and white pepper to taste
Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a deep sauce pan or soup pot.
Add the celery and onion, season with salt and white pepper and sweat until the celery and onion is soft, 7 to 10 minutes, taking care not to let them take on any color. Add the cubed celery root to the pot, season again with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes to allow it to soften slightly.
Wrap the thyme and coriander in cheesecloth and add to the pot along with the cream, milk and rice. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the celery root is completely softened. If the liquid level drops below the celery root due to evaporation, add additional milk or cream to cover.
Remove the cheesecloth from the pot and turn off the heat. Blend the soup thoroughly with an immersion blender or in batches in a stand blender or food processor.
While the soup is still hot, pass it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to remove the solids. Taste the soup and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
Top Shelf Beet Relish
1/2 jar of Top Shelf Beets, cut into small dice
3 kirby cucumbers, seeded and cut into small dice
2 ribs celery, cut into small dice
7 or 8 tarragon leaves
4 T Top Shelf Beet brine
1 T extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the beets, cucumbers, celery and tarragon in a mixing bowl.
Stir in the brine, olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Let the relish sit for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to marry, but use shortly thereafter to ensure that it retains its crispness.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls and place a small spoonful of the relish in the center of the bowl.