The Great Winter Soup Challenge #3 – Cream of Mussel with Celeriac and Saffron

The thing about winter food is, it’s all about tubers and roots. Summer is crisp leaves that hold light drops of oil or dressing but in winter we want a vegetable that will stand up to long, slow cooking and absorb flavour.

Mussel soupTrawling around the market I’m turning my nose up at unseasonable asparagus and unlikely looking globe artichokes. Every fair-dinkum winter vegetable is a root: tender young turnips, swedes, beetroot and Jerusalem artichokes.

My newest crush is celeriac. It’s an ugly beast. Horny and rough and with bulbous protrusions, it has a unique and, to me, gorgeous fragrance. I love to cook it with meatballs in lemon sauce as in Ottolenghi’s recipe, or shave it into matchsticks to make a remoulade to serve with chargrilled steak.

It also makes a great soup and this one is a beauty. From Rick Stein’s French Odyssey cookbook, it’s a creamy mix of celeriac, mussels, saffron and crème fraiche. You can find the recipe here.

This was a lovely soup, equally at home at a dinner party or eaten off laps in front of the fire.