Celery Root Soup, Fig-Olive-Feta Pesto, Balsamic, Honey & Pomegranates
A totally gluten free soup that's so luscious and filling! The fig-olive-feta pesto adds an amazing dimension to the flavor profile. Great Greek olive oil from the Peloponnese and Greek balsamic vinegar, round out the whole bowl!
- Celery Root Soup with Fig-Feta Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds
- 1 large celery root or two medium size ones about 4 pounds total
- 2/3 cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb trimmed and chopped
- 2 leeks trimmed and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves (preferably Greek, in brine, drained) minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- ½ cup ouzo or other anise-flavored liqueur
- 1 ½ quarts / liters vegetable stock or water or more, as needed
- Salt to taste
- 2 – 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or sweet wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Greek honey or grape molasses
- 4 dried Greek figs
- 1/2 cup Thassos throumbes olives, pitted
- 4 tablespoons crumbled Greek feta
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or coriander
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
Cut the celery root in half and, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off its woody peel. Cut the celery root into 1-inch/ 2.5 cm pieces.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot and place the leek, celery root, fennel and garlic in the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Cover the lid and sweat the vegetables over low heat for about 10 – 12 minutes, checking and turning occasionally in the oil to keep them from burning.
Pour in the ouzo and white wine. Cover the lid and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock or water, raise heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the soup with the lid ajar for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables are very tender.
While the soup is simmering, make the pesto: Trim and chop the figs. Using a small, sharp knife, pit the Thassos throumbes and save the flesh. Place the olives and figs in a food processor, together with the feta, parsley or coriander, a little black pepper, and 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Pulse on and off to form a chunky paste. Set aside.
Remove the soup from the heat and puree it inside the pot with an immersion blender. Place back on the stove and adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper, balsamic and honey.
To serve: Ladle into bowls, garnish with the fig-olive pesto, a few pomegranate seeds and a drizzling of olive oil.