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Leek and celeriac soup

It is incredibly satisfying that a vegetable as unglamorous as celeriac can create a soup which is so elegant and rich. Of course, the addition of oysters makes it particularly sophisticated, but it's also good simply splashed with a little cream and sprinkled with some finely chopped chives.

Method

Place a large saucepan over a medium-low heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is foaming, stir in all the chopped vegetables and garlic. Cook gently for about 10 minutes until everything is softened but not coloured. Pour in the stock and wine and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 20–25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until all the vegetables are tender.

Purée the soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until smooth. If it seems a little thick, thin with a bit more stock or water. Return to the pan.

If using oysters, place a large saucepan containing half a glass of water over a high heat and bring to the boil. Place half the oysters in the pan, cover with a tight-fitting lid and allow them to steam for 2 minutes; this will lightly poach the oysters and open the shells just a crack. Remove from the pan and finish the job – carefully opening up the shells and taking the meat out, without spilling the juice in the shell – tip this into a small bowl. Repeat with the remaining oysters.

To finish the soup, stir in the cream and the reserved oyster juice, if including. Warm the soup through gently and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into warm bowls and pop the poached oysters on top or add a splash of cream and a sprinkling of chives to serve.

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Ingredients

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 500g peeled celeriac, roughly chopped (peeled weight)
  • 2 tender inner sticks of celery, chopped
  • 2 leeks, washed and sliced
  • 1 potato (about 150g), peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • About 1.25 litres light chicken or fish stock, or vegetable stock
  • ½ glass white wine
  • 16 fresh oysters in their shells scrubbed clean (optional)
  • 100ml double cream, plus a little extra
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • Finely chopped chives (optional)

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Veg Patch Handbook

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