19th Century-Style Potage of Celeriac, Garlic, and Sweet Onion

Oxmoor House
19th Century-Style Potage of Celeriac, Garlic, and Sweet OnionRecipe
Photo: Oxmoor House


Old-school French chefs are serious about sweating vegetables for soups. Farm-fresh vegetables at their peak, slowly sweated in the right fat, can become a glorious soup, with nothing but water to adjust viscosity. We take sweating a touch further here, rounding out the almost citrusy aroma of celery root with chicken broth and fresh thyme. (This makes a heck of a vegetable puree if you use 2 cups of broth. Think of it as an alternative to mashed potatoes.) Serve with slightly charred rustic--preferably multi-grain--bread rubbed with garlic and spritzed with olive oil.
Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)


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1 tablespoon butter
4 cups peeled and diced celery root
3 cups vertically sliced sweet onion
8 garlic cloves, peeled, tipped, split, and germ removed
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 qt. lower-sodium chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (2-inch) strip lemon zest
About 1/2 cup cubed French bread
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
2 tablespoons sliced fresh chives


Hands-on: 20 Minutes
Total: 1 Hour, 20 Minutes

In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over low heat.


Add the celery root, the onion, garlic, and thyme to the melted butter. Tumble. Cover and raise the heat to medium-low.

Sweat the vegetables for 25 minutes.

Remove the lid, and add the chicken broth, salt, and the lemon zest.

Bring the soup to a steady simmer, reduce heat, and cook, covered, for at least 20 minutes, until all the vegetables are quite soft.

Remove the lid and carefully pull out the lemon zest with a pair of tongs.


Ready a blender or, preferably, an immersion blender.

Add the bread to the soup. Stir with a wooden spoon. It's the 19th century, remember?

In mere seconds, the bread will have broken down into the soup. Now, being extremely careful, blend the soup until silky smooth: Use an immersion blender right in the pot or place about a quarter of the mixture in a blender. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Drape a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend in small batches until smooth, pouring into a large bowl.

Repeat procedure until all of the soup is well blended. If you've used a traditional blender, return the soup to the pot.

Stir in the buttermilk and heat the soup over medium-high heat until very hot.

Ladle the hot soup into bowls and garnish with crème fraîche and chives.

Created date

September 2014

Nutritional Information

Calories 112
Fat 3.9 g
Satfat 2.5 g
Monofat 0.8 g
Polyfat 0.2 g
Protein 6 g
Carbohydrate 14 g
Fiber 2 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Iron 1 mg
Sodium 278 mg
Calcium 55 mg