Sunday, December 27, 2009

Festive Celery Root Soup with Pear and Wild Rice and a Side Dish of Maple Carrots

Photos (Lexi Van de Walle): Colorful Carrots, Candied Maple Syrup Sauteed Carrots, Creamy Celery Root Soup with Pear and Wild Rice

Christmas was really mellow this year as my sister and her family were away and my stepkids are with us for New Year's week. Mom made delicious capon and a potato, apple and onion casserole and sauteed green beans with red peppers and had many lovely desserts (including my sister-in-laws homemade gingerbread and Viennese crescent cookies).

I brought the farmers market and healthy soup course to start and candied carrots made with maple syrup that are pictured above.

It was a colorful and tasty meal and a really nice family celebration.

Celery Root, Pear and Wild Rice Soup
1 large shallot, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 T butter *
1/4 cup white wine
2-3 celery roots (aka celeric), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes - makes about 5 cups
2 Anjou pears, peeled and diced
4-5 cups homemade chicken stock *
1-2 cups of low fat milk*
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of cooked wild rice

* for a vegan preparation substitute olive oil for butter, vegetable stock for chicken stock and unsweetened organic soy milk for cow's milk

1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, saute shallot, celery and carrot over medium heat in 2 T of butter for about 10 minutes, until soft.
2. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add 5 cups of celery root, pear and stir coating the vegetables with the wine. Heat for about 3 minutes.
3. Add stock to the top of the vegetables, cover and cook about 10 more minutes until the celery root is tender.
4. Allow the soup to cool before pureeing in batches in a food processor. The soup will be very too thick and should be thinned using a low fat or skim milk. Milk should be stirred in using a whisk until the desired consistency is achieved. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Reheat soup when ready to serve being careful not to boil or scorch the soup.
6. Serve in bowls with a tablespoon of wild rice.

Maple Syrup Candied Carrots Sauteed with Butter

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into coins (I used heirloom carrots in purple, yellow and orange)
2 T butter
2 T maple syrup
1/4 cup water

Add all ingredients. Heat and cook covered for about 5 minutes. Stir and cook uncovered for another 5 minutes until liquid has reduced and carrots are cooked through. If carrots cook before the liquid is reduced, remove the carrots and set aside and reduce the liquid. Pour syrup reduction over the carrots and serve.

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