Creamy Curried Celery Root & Apple Soup

Celery root is not a vegetable you would pick up immediately. Its gnarled and knotty surface doesn't look like much, but when you cut off the ugly exterior, inside lies a crisp, parsnip-like root, with just a hint of celery's strong taste. I found this recipe in the New York Times Dining Section, and it is a perfect antidote to a chilly November evening. It's a little more interesting than plain old potato soup, and the curry adds warmth and flavor to the celery root's mellow creaminess. Creamy Curried Celery Root & Apple Soup (Adapted from the New York Times)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter 1 small onion, chopped 1 tablespoon garlic, minced 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin Salt and black pepper 1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1- to 2-inch chunks 3 apples peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water 1/2 to 1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk, or to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. After a couple of minutes, add the onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about five minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the celery root and apples, and coat with the spices, then add the water or stock and bring to a boil.Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until celery root is tender and soft, about 20 minutes.

Cool slightly and pour into a blender. Purée in batches. When it has all been puréed, return soup to the pan and mix in the cream or milk, and adjust the seasoning to taste.