As in their mashed potatoes recipe, the women in my family love to experiment with the ratio of potato to celeriac in soup, always in favor of the latter, it seems, and, of course, they can’t help adding some leeks. When in Provence, we add a drizzle of olive oil for that extra—I’ll say it only this once—“je ne sais quoi.” It makes me love this soup even more.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound celeriac, peeled and cubed
3⁄4 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 leek, white part only, sliced
2 onions, peeled and minced
2 shallots, minced
4 cups vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup milk (regular or 2 percent)
6 slices of day-old baguette, toasted
Yield: 6 servings
Warm the oil in a large pot and add the celeriac, potatoes, leek, onions and shallots. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring every once in a while. Add the vegetable stock and bay leaf, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, then cover and simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the milk, stir well, and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve, placing a warm toasted baguette slice on top of each bowl. Note: The traditional recipe calls for croutons, bread pieces fried in oil. We find leftover toasted baguette much lighter and just as delicious.