Good thing I love soup; I’ve certainly eaten a lot of it this week!

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Today at Healthy Green Kitchen we’ve got another yummy seasonal recipe, straight from the menu of one of my favorite local eateries, The Village TeaRoom, Restaurant and Bake Shop in New Paltz, NY.

If you belong to a CSA or if you frequent farmers’ markets, you’ve likely become familiar with celery root (aka celeriac) lately. If not, here’s a little bit of info about this somewhat funny looking vegetable.

Celery root has a mild flavor and is said to taste like a cross between celery and parsley. It has very firm flesh and may be eaten raw in salads; it is also frequently cooked and then mashed/puréed. Unlike most of the other root veggies, though, celery root is low in starch. It’s got a thick skin that is somewhat difficult to peel; I find it easier just to slice it off.

In this recipe, celeriac marries beautifully with potatoes, wild rice, and kale to create a wonderful seasonal soup. I enjoyed this so much I think I am going to serve it again with Thanksgiving dinner.

Recipe for Celery Root, Kale and Wild Rice Soup

courtesy of Agnes Devereux, owner of The Village TeaRoom, Restaurant and Bake Shop

Ingredients:

*1/2 cup wild rice
*2 large leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped
*sea salt and pepper to taste
*1 pound celery root, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
*1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
*1 celery rib, diced
*1 bay leaf
*leaves from 1 large thyme sprig
*1/4 cup chopped parsley
*1 bunch kale, washed, ribs removed and sliced in ribbons
*1 oz. butter, preferably organic
*6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or part stock and part water)
*1/2 cup half and half, preferably organic

Directions:

1. Cover wild rice with plenty of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. (Alternatively, you can cook the rice right in the soup, but you will need to increase the simmering time to 45 minutes-1 hour for the rice to cook fully).

2. Melt the butter in a soup pot. Add the vegetables, parsley, bay leaf, thyme and 1 tsp. salt.

3. Cook over medium – high heat for 5 minutes, then add the stock.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the half and half and simmer until vegetables are tender.

5. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Before serving, remove the bay leaf and add kale and drained wild rice. Heat through.

Since one cannot live on soup alone, make sure to check out tomorrow’s post for a delicious and decadent dessert recipe that’s also perfect for Thanksgiving!

As promised, here is another wonderful soup recipe from one of the Hudson Valley’s most esteemed restaurants. This Parsnip and Apple Soup is courtesy of Agnes Devereux, owner of The Village Tea Room in New Paltz, NY.

Parsnips are a root vegetable with a high mineral content (lots of calcium, iron and potassium in particular); they also contain some beta-carotene and vitamin C (parsnip nutrition info courtesy of Living Cuisine by Renee Loux Underkoffler).

I like parsnips both raw and cooked; I sometimes shave them into salads like this, and they are wonderful when roasted, alone or with other vegetables.

As far as growing them is concerned, parsnips are particularly delicious when their natural sweetness is allowed to develop by leaving them in the ground until well after the first frost, so the starches can convert to sugars.

This simple recipe perfect for the fall/winter pairs parsnips with potatoes. The sweetness of the parsnips is enhanced by the apple cider and it has a luscious velvet-y consistency when puréed with a little cream. To make it vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

This parsnip soup recipe is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging this week.
Weekend Herb Blogging is an event managed by Haalo, and I am this week’s host!

Recipe for Parsnip and Apple Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

*2 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
*4 parsnips, peeled and chopped
*2 small onions, chopped
*1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
*4 oz. unsalted butter, preferably organic
*1 qt. homemade or store-bought chicken stock
*1 1/2 cups apple cider
*1/3 cup heavy cream, preferably organic and not ultra-pasteurized (I use raw cream)

Directions:

1. In a large stainless steel pot, cook potato, parsnips, onions and parsley in butter over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened; this will take about 20 minutes. Add stock and simmer until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.

2. With immersion blender, purée mixture until silky smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender, allow soup to cool sufficiently so that you can purée it in a traditional blender or a food processor. Do this in batches, if necessary.

3. Stir in cider, cream, and salt and pepper to taste and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Keep soup warm until ready to serve; garnish with chopped chives, if desired.

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Today’s recipe for Spiced Carrot Red Lentil Soup comes from Agnes Devereux, owner of The Village Tea Room in New Paltz, NY.

The Village Tea Room is one of my favorite restaurants and I was thrilled when Agnes agreed to let share some of her recipes on this blog.

The Village Tea Room serves delicious tea and fantastic baked goods all day long. But that’s not all- it’s also a full-scale restaurant with incredible food.

Agnes hails from Ireland and while many of the foods on the menu do reflect her heritage, she makes it a point to serve a wide variety of dishes from across the globe…in her own words, it’s “home cooking at its best”.

Agnes is a huge proponent of Slow Food and bakes/cooks with only the best quality ingredients. This, coupled with the fact that she’s hugely committed to using foods from our region (New York’s Hudson Valley), makes me a a very big fan.

One of my favorite things on the menu at The Village Tea Room is the soups. They always feature seasonal ingredients and they are always delicious. Agnes was kind enough to share not one…not two…but three of the restaurant’s most popular fall soup recipes with me. This week I am going to share them with you, starting with this amazing Spiced Carrot Red Lentil Soup.

Agnes calls this “Carrot Red Lentil Soup with Gentle Spices”. I love this description. It is gently spiced, with flavors reminiscent of Indian cooking. I loved this both before blending and adding the coconut milk as well as after; try it both ways and I’m sure you’ll agree it is fabulous!

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Carrot Red Lentil Soup With Gentle Spices
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

2 Tb. olive oil
1 1/2 Tb. fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 Tb. allspice
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. curry powder
3/4 cup sliced onions
3/4 cup peeled and sliced parsnips
4 cups scrubbed and sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 Tb. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup basmati rice
7 cups water
1/2 can coconut milk (approx. 1 cup)
juice of 1 lime
additonal 1/2 Tb. salt

Directions:

In a soup pot, warm olive oil over low heat. Stir in the ginger and spices and cook until very fragrant (about 3 minutes). Do not let the spices burn.

Add the onions, carrots, parsnips and celery and season with the salt and pepper.

Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to be soft but not browned.

Stir in the lentils and basmati rice, mixing until well combined with the vegetables.

Add the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until the vegetables are rice are tender. Make sure the carrots are very soft so that the soup won’t be gritty.

Being careful not to burn yourself as your transfer the soup to a blender or food processor, purée the soup until smooth.

Return the soup to the pot, bring back to a boil, and stir in the coconut milk and lime juice before serving.

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The Village Tea Room is located at 10 Plattekill Ave in New Paltz, NY. If you’d like more information about Agnes and the restaurant, check out this great article from the Valley Table Magazine.