Celeriac and Fennel Soup and Mushroom Risotto

fennel celeriac soup steps on the journeyIt’s cold outside and what could be nicer than experimenting with a new soup recipe?

Heidi’s Northumberland celeriac and fennel soup was at the very top of my to do list.  I had a big bowl of chicken stock left over from a couple of days ago,  so it was soup and risotto for supper, no question!


I followed Heidi’s recipe, cooking the vegetables and the fruit in stock till they were soft. Then they were puréed and the liquid adjusted.  Salt and pepper to taste, mixed in some ground toasted almonds and  a generous spoonful of half fat creme fraiche (instead of half and half regular cream)  per serving. Warmed the soup through, without letting it boil, and even remembered to warm the soup bowls!

Celeriac is very good right now, firm and fresh and one of my favourite winter vegetables. It was wonderful in this soup!  I also like it

  • added to mashed potatoes
  • cut into julienne strips, blanched for a minute  and slathered in mayonnaise and yoghurt with a grainy Dijon mustard:  celeriac remoulade.
  • as a layering vegetable in a shepherd’s pie or similar.

I’m sure I read somewhere that it has loads of accessible iron too, so a good vegetable to put on your list if your iron levels are low.

It discolours on contact with the air, so acidulated water is a good idea if it is going to be used for remoulade or some assembly dish where it has to hang around for a bit before getting cooked.

I had no blanched almonds, so I went through that lovely ritual of pouring boiling water over the almonds and popping their skins off and toasting them in the oven.  They’re much nicer that way anyway.  That’s the smell of a Danish Christmas come early for me and I think this soup would fit right in for a Danish Christmas Eve supper.

celeriac and fennel soup

We followed up that nutty, intensely flavoured and creamy soup, scattered with ground toasted almonds and chopped fennel fronds with a mushroom risotto out of Marcella Cucina a great Italian cook book by Marcella Hazan and….

mushroom risotto… then dived into a tasting box of chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat – a gift from Tutak to Brian that I was allowed to share selectively.

Artisan du Chocolat I think they are some of the best chocolates I have ever tasted! In fact I couldn’t take an unblurry picture because I was too eager to grab another of those salted liquid caramel balls…


In the winter garden, a rogue fennel seedling has inserted itself in the patio step and is waving its little fronds defiantly against the cold. I wonder when the first fennel was grown here? I always thought it was an Italian plant, but maybe it came over with the Romans?

22 thoughts on “Celeriac and Fennel Soup and Mushroom Risotto

  1. sallybr

    Celeriac: ugly but tasty! ;-)

    Haven’t made a celeriac soup in ages, glad you reminded me…

    the risotto is making me salivate….

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I think it’s one of the best vegetables in winter for flavour, when you’ve had enough of all those sweet root vegetables, though it is a bit of work to peel and chop as it is so hard. Glad you approve of the risotto Sally :)

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    What a lovely feast! The celeriac soup looks wonderful, as does the mushroom risotto. Brave little winter fennel! Let’s not ponder when the first fennel was grown in the UK, let’s just declare that your little fennel IS the first fennel, and we can all marvel over it as it (hopefully) grows. :)


    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Heehee, are you taking the side of the fennel? It’s in the wrong place you know, Celia, one day it will have to be moved ;) The most unlikely things choose to grow in odd places…

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          Do you think commenting in doggerel could be a new meme?

          The Bakewell lies over the ocean,
          The Bakewell lies over the sea,
          The Bakewell lies over the ocean,
          Please bring back some Bakewell for tea!

          Tell the good Doctor it’s named after an English town called Bakewell :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I’ve scrutinised their site and you can get little bottles of the salted caramel on its own to drizzle over icecream – sounds lethally delicious :)

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Flicking down your post just now…celeriac, I’ve never cooked with that- that soup looks delicious. Mushroom risotto looks divine. I would love that for dinner tonight….chocolates, and that’s where I stop. It all comes back to the sugar hit. They look fantastic. I’m glad they are some of the best chocolates you have ever tasted, they should be looking like that! Any marzipan in there?

  4. heidiannie

    Oh Joanna- it looks marvelous! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
    I love all your pictures and descriptions- especially the blanched almonds and the risotto- although the celeriac looks so wonderfully white!
    (I have never met anyone else who can go rapturous about celeriac, before! Most people give me a puzzled look and act like they’ve never heard of it!)
    Today is our anniversary- 35 years of growing old together! I think he’s planning on going out for supper ( I hope so- as I’ve been decorating cookies and making pumpkin rolls all day) but I wish I had some soup and risotto, instead!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Congratulations to you both – hope you have a lovely day! Thanks for the recipe once again Heidi :) I like the toasted almonds with the celeriac and I would never have thought of it.

  5. drfugawe

    I’m willing to bet that maybe only 1 in 20 Americans could even id celeriac on sight – and maybe only 1 in 50 had ever tasted it! I’ve never grown it in my garden, but if it likes colder temps, maybe I should. Frankly, that soup is the best looking celeriac dish I’ve ever seen! Nice job.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I don’t know how good veg recognition is here either or how many people have eaten it. Guess it depends if you like celery to start with…
      Doc you and Choc should talk growing celeriac, see her comment below…. I’ve never grown it either, it’s quite a big root plant and I don’t have much space for roots, we grow mostly shoots for that reason – the exception being garlic, spring onions (scallions) and beets. We grew a few potatoes in tubs this year, and they were very nice, but a lot of work for a relatively small crop. I think they store well too. I have had very nice celeriac crisps once somewhere, when the fashion for turning root vegetables into crisps (chips) was around. Thanks for the compliment :)

  6. Choclette

    Joanna, your supper looks so good and I would so love it waiting for me when I get home from work tonight. Haven’t had celeriac for a long time. One year we grew masses and had celeriac with just about everything. Haven’t been lucky enough to try any chocolates from Artisan du Chocolat yet, but they look amazing. I’d not tasted any chocolates from small artisan producers before this year and they are indeed on a different level.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Delicate flavours, perfect chocolate, low in sugar and high in delight! I don’t know much about the heady world of artisan chocolate at all. In fact thought of you as I was looking at a picture of their matcha bar on their site ;) I was looking at their blog last night and their production processes, it’s a whole other world.

  7. arthur

    I see the celeriac in supermarkets but never dared cook it. This soup must be aromatic combined with fennel. I’ll follow your sensational recipe soon! Cheers!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Welcome Arthur! Thanks for visiting. The only bad bit is peeling them and the part where the roots are is always a bit annoying. I recommend buying a half one like I have in the picture. The inside should be a creamy colour, not too many browny patches, and it should feel very hard, not spongey. It doesn’t take a long time to cook once you have either diced or sliced or julienned. I had a second lot of the soup yesterday, this time I toasted some fennel seeds and scattered them on the top as I find the celeriac overwhelmed the fennel a little, but that might have been down to my proportions in the original mix. I do hope you try it, if not in soup, then cooked and mashed is totally delicious too!

  8. InTolerantChef

    I love celeriac so much! It’s a very underated vegetable. I have a little strawberry plant that is just like your fennel, isn’t it amazing how something that can feed us and nourish us can come from the tiniest postage stamp of earth?

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Hello Chef! Thanks for dropping by :) Another celeriac fan! I don’t have strawberries plants as I live with a berry allergy man, but they are just a joy when you see their little fruits twinkling away unexpectedly somewhere. My fennel has mysteriously rooted itself in between the steps of the patio, in the sand and cement….but maybe there is a smidgen of leaf litter in there or something like that to keep it going.

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