Here’s a soup that is traditionally eaten hot, but it also tastes great cold (and I’m not that keen on cold soups!). Like most soups and stews this soup tastes better the day after it’s made, but if you can’t wait, by all means, go ahead and enjoy it the same day. If you don’t have 2 cups of chopped leeks, make up the difference with chopped onion.

3 T unsalted butter or a light vegetable oil or a combination
2 c chopped leeks, chopped
1 c chopped onion
1 t salt, or to taste
4 – 5 c peeled, coarsely chopped celeriac
5 c water, plus extra as needed; or vegetable or chicken broth
1 c crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt
ground (white) pepper, to taste
freshly chopped herb, for garnish

1. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt the butter or heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are quite soft and gold, about 15 minutes. If the leeks and onion start to brown or blacken turn the heat down.

2. Add the chopped celeriac along with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until the celeriac is tender (the cooking time will depend on the size of the celeriac pieces). Stir occasionally, and check that the water hasn’t evaporated. If the water is almost gone, add another 1/2 cup or so of water. When the celeriac is tender, add 4-1/2 cups of water, bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer another 20 minutes.

3. Cool some, then purée with an immersion blender, of in batches in a blender or a food processor. A blender will give you a smoother consistency. Return purée, if necessary, to pot. If making this soup in advance, cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to two days. Otherwise, gently heat soup through. Stir in some pepper, then taste, adding more salt if you like.

4. Serve the soup topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh, chopped herb.