Ahhh… It is finally here: soup season. Sure, we have all slurped a chilled gazpacho or lovely melon soup this summer, but a warm bowl of soup on these cool fall evenings is unrivaled.
Most of the ingredients in this soup are familiar. All good Minnesotans know where to find locally grown wild rice and apples (hint: the Mill City Farmers Market), but not everyone is quite as hip to celeriac, the gnarly looking white root vegetable found at farmers markets and co-ops.
While often called “celery root,” celeriac is not literally the root of celery stalk plants. It is a variety of celery, Apium graveolens, bred to have a robust root. Celeriac has a fragrant and delicious celery taste. After you peel off its hard outer layer, it can be prepared like most other root vegetables: roasted, boiled or even sautéed.
You can find Minnesota-grown celeriac, grapes, apples, farmstead cheeses, breads and so much more at the Mill City Farmers Market, which runs 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday through the end of October!
Celery root, apple & wild rice chowder
Recipe by chef Heather Hartman
1⁄2 cup Birchberry wild rice, uncooked (found at the Mill City Farmer’s Market)
1 celeriac, peeled and small diced (about 1 lb.)
1 leek, washed and diced
1⁄2 yellow onion, diced
2 tablespoons butter
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced (use 2 apples if they are small)
1 cup potato, washed and diced, with skin (I like to use white sweet potato, but Yukon gold works well too)
Few parsley sprigs, thyme or whatever large herb bits you have around to add to the mix
2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock, or use the wild rice water)
2 cups half and half or milk (if keeping vegan, use almond milk)
Rinse the wild rice in a fine meshed colander and place in a saucepan. Cover with 5 cups water, bring to a boil and lower the heat. Cook 30–45 minutes or until tender. Save the water! Set cooked rice aside. This can be done 2 days ahead.
Melt the butter in a large soup pot. Add the leeks, onions and celery root. Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the apple, potato, herbs and stock. Bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes, or until veggies are soft.
Add the half and half (which I quite suggest for a luscious soup) and cook for a few minutes. If you are so inclined, puree half the soup for a creamier consistency. If you have an immersion blender, this is where you can use it!
If soup is too thick, add the wild rice water to thin it. Check for salt and add fresh cracked black pepper if needed.
To serve, add the wild rice to the bowls and top with the hot soup. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toasted sunflower seeds are great as well!
This will last 4 days in the refrigerator. Keep rice and soup separate until serving.
Mill City Farmers Market
The market is located in the Mill District at 704 S. 2nd St. and is open every Saturday 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. October hours are 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.