Celeriac is an ugly beast: squat, knobby, and bulbous with an unruly shock of green protruding above and a tangled mass of root below.

But whatever it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in flavor. Celeriac has a crisp celery-meets-parsley-by-way-of-jicama flavor. I can’t really compare it to another root vegetable; it does have a bit of an earthy sweetness, but lacks the heavy earthiness of beets, the sweetness of carrots, and the starch of potato. It’s known as celery root even though it’s NOT the root of the celery plant. Celeriac is it’s own thing – super-low in carbs and high in micronutrients like Vitamin K and phosphorus.

It also makes a divine soup, as I discovered one evening in Big Sur at Nepenthe. A little taste of appley sweetness, a hint of heat from the curry – just a lovely dish. As I promised in that blog post about Art, Soup, and Family, here is my re-creation of that Soup By The Sea. Nom nom bowl by Kid One; recipe below the photo:

Curried celery root soup

Life in a Skillet with thanks to the Nepenthe chefs
A steaming hot mug of curried celery root soup is a wonderful cold-weather meal.
Course Soup
Servings 8


  • 4 slices center-cut bacon each strip quartered
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 celery root peeled and cubed
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan.
  • Add bacon and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cook bacon until fat has been rendered.
  • Add onion and simmer until soft or about 10 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add celery root and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add wine and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Stir in chicken stock and curry powder.
  • Cover, turn heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Immediately reduce heat to low.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes or until celery root is soft.
  • Using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender, puree until smooth.


Omit the bacon, increase olive oil to 1 tbsp, and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock to make this a vegetarian dish.

This is delicious with warmed Herb and Nasturtium biscuits:

What is your favorite winter soup? I’d live to hear.