Velvety Chestnut and Celeriac Soup with Horseradish-Truffle Toast

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy – even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy - even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.Celeriac is not a marketer’s dream. Unlike Tuscan kale, with its glossy-green good looks, nobbly, odd-bod celeriac doesn’t exactly inspire. Even when its dirt-holding, tendril-like roots are scrubbed ivory-clean its rough countenance gives the potential buyer pause for thought. Just what do I do with you? But looks are deceiving.

Underneath the gnarly skin and close cap of roots is a seriously interesting vegetable. Because it isn’t available year-round – it is very slow to grow and mature – its sudden presence in early winter leaves us a little befuddled. Most of us know that you can mash it – and indeed it makes a fantastic low-carb sub for mashed potatoes (or truthfully best as half and half) on cottage or shepherd’s pie – but beyond that, we can be stumped. 

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy - even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.However, its subtle clean and fresh taste is not only wonderful as a mash – and like today, in soup – it also gratins well (this Jamie Oliver one looks deliciously OTT) and is incomparable raw and paired with Dijon, creme fraiche and a dollop of best mayonnaise (the classic celeriac remoulade). You can even make it into chips, crisps, and throw cubes or batons into a tray of roasting vegetables. I like the look of this whole roasted celeriac from Riverford. My friend Kate puts this winter root in cake with apple, and smothers it all in salted butterscotch bourbon sauce (well, her blog is called veggiedesserts!). I make it into a cake too, but a savoury one (Festive Celeriac and Carrot Rostï Cake).

One of the more interesting things about celeriac (celery root) is that it tastes subtly of truffles. Not the sweet ones of course.😉 This is heightened when slowly baked with sliced potatoes and sweet cream.

I wanted to play on this haunting quality in a soup, but without all of the starch and fat usually necessary to achieve this somewhat elusive (and exclusive) flavour. I find that roasted chestnuts and just a hint of truffle salt make this earthy, velvety soup really pop. Not colour-wise, of course. It is still gravy-brown. But like the look of the celeriac in its whole, lumpen form, this soup is deceiving. Freshly grated horseradish cuts the natural sweetness of the chestnuts and celeriac, and the whole thing begs to be topped with a fancy, restaurant-esque foam. A foam that is merely the magic of fluffing skim milk with a frother wand. Thyme and bay work their woodsy charms, too.

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy - even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.You could add cream to the soup, but I really think a good old blitz in the blender gives the requisite velvety texture: spend those fat calories on making the horseradish-truffle toast.

This soup is a fabulous way to use up bought, cooked chestnuts, but fresh, home-roasted ones are just that bit nicer. Fiddly, yes, but very good. If you’ve got some fresh ones but aren’t sure how to proceed, read this post on The Kitchn explaining how to roast and peel chestnuts. I don’t wrap in foil as they suggest, but instead tumble the prepped nuts into an oven-proof, lidded pot with a little water.

chestnuts for roastingNutrition Bit: Both the chestnuts and celeriac are fantastic winter options for nutritious, low-fat, high-fiber eating. As for celeriac, it is a well-kept secret that anyone trying to shed a few pounds could well do to explore, being very low in calories and sugars – especially when eaten raw (have with a low-fat dip). It is a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and manganese, and a very good source of vitamin C and bone-strengthening phosphorus.

The chestnuts are very useful as they have both soluble and insoluble fiber, keeping us full for longer while also reducing bad cholesterol and stabilising blood sugar. Nuts generally give us only insoluble fiber. While chestnuts are higher in carbs than ordinary nuts it is all the slow release, complex kind, so it’s all good, especially as they are low in fat. Extra goodies include potassium (22g per 100 grams), magnesium (13%), vitamin B6 (10%) and Vitamin C (44%). I find them quite filling and “self-limiting”. So eating them in this decadent-for-me chocolate truffle cake is not a problem.🙂

Oh, I was going to include my festive food prep tips, but I’ve rambled on about celeriac instead. Here is a link to my Cooking for Crowds 10 tips for the terrified post, including my cauliflower cheese “cake” recipe. I doubt you will need any help, but it is there if you require it. I have looked at it a few times to remind me of my own advice!

Do you use celeriac? How do you like to have it? Like me, do you think it looks a bit like the Oods on Dr Who??

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy - even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.

Velvety Chestnut and Celeriac Soup with Horseradish-Truffle Toast

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy – even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.

1 celeriac (celery root), about 1 kg unpeeled weight or 800g peeled and trimmed

350-400g peeled and cooked chestnuts

1 leek, chopped (about 125g chopped weight)

2 bay leaves

1 large sprig of fresh thyme (about 8 small “supermarket” sprigs)

2 tbsp freshly grated horseradish root, or bought grated horseradish (not sauce)

1.7 litre vegetable stock (low salt if possible)

1/2 tsp good quality truffle salt, or a few shavings of fresh truffle (truffle oil is often poor quality unless very expensive; it goes off very quickly too) – optional

The Toast – amounts are up to you

Good rough bread, sliced thickly

Butter or neutral coconut oil

Truffle salt

Horseradish root

The Foam – 150 ml skim milk or plant milk, and a milk frother wand/Aerolatte

Method:

1. For the soup, peel and roughly chop the celeriac. Add this to a large soup pot along with the remaining soup ingredients, except the truffle salt. If you can parcel up the thyme and bay leaves in a bit of muslin cloth or bouquet garni bag, do this. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and sprigs of thyme then ladle into a blender, blending it in batches until completely smooth. Pour back into the pan and gently reheat, adding the truffle salt, to taste.

2. For the toast, melt butter or coconut oil (I used the latter, Suma brand) and add a pinch of truffle salt – how much depends on the butter used and how strong the truffle flavour is. Toast the bread under a grill on both sides, and when the second side is almost toasted, brush on the truffle butter and grate over the horseradish; return to the grill to finish.

3. Just before serving, make the foam by adding about 150 ml of skim milk to a steep sided pan and heating gently. Use the frother to make a light foam and immediately dollop onto each filled bowl. Sprinkle over a little grated horseradish.

Chestnut and Celeriac Recipes from others

Chestnut and Cashew Nut Roast (a Vegan Christmas Roast)

Sweet Potato and Chestnut Pie (savoury)

Chestnut and Parsnip Soup

Chocolate Chestnut Roulade

Celeriac and Marscapone Puree

Easy Roasted Celeriac Soup

Chocolate and Amaretto Mont Blanc

Pappardelle with Squash, Chestnuts and Mushrooms

If you are needing Christmas Menu inspiration, check out my 31 Festive Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes post from last year, as well as looking at the recent links to the right.🙂

**PS: I use my Optimum 9400 Froothie power blender daily for work and home. If you want to make your own flours, nut butters, power balls, smoothies, cocktails, super smooth sauces, purees and soups like this (and loads more), use my ambassador link to get free delivery (UK) and a great machine. The main Froothie site has many inventive and healthy recipes to inspire you, including ones from me. If you order for Christmas do write “1611” and “free ambassador delivery” in the comment section of the order. Delivery will be credited back to your card. HAPPY BLENDING!*

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Chestnuts and celeriac bring out the best in each other in this luxurious, velvety smooth low calorie winter soup. Add an easy foam, plus horseradish-truffle toast to make it fancy - even on a wet weekday afternoon. The soup is gluten-free and vegan.