Watergate Soup

Celery root, leek, onion, potato and carrot soup just wasn’t doing it for me.  I remembered a vague conversation about a restaurant at the famed Watergate Hotel (young people – Google it!) that served many interesting and delicious dishes with celeriac aka celery root.  Watergate Soup just sounded much more intriguing.

This recipe was leaked to us by our customer, May, at the  Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market.  It came to me through my son (who often works the market on Sundays).  Mom, we have to make this incredible soup it has 1 celery root, 5 cups of water, 1 cup of chicken broth, carrots, potatoes, onion, 3 leeks, 2 bay leaves, marjoram and nutmeg.  How could something so ridiculously simple be that good I wondered?  I waited patiently for celery root to hit the deck again so I could make the soup, and it was delicious.  At the end of the sampling my son questioned me – you did use fresh marjoram didn’t you?  My guilty look was met with a frowny head shake – has to be fresh mom, seriously, May told me that was the secret!  Really, that would have been good to know about an hour ago!

I knew I had to cook the soup in the spirit in which May passed it on to my son.  So off to the Farmers’ Market for fresh marjoram.  This is the exact recipe I used today – I think May would be proud.  I puree all my soups, I prefer them that way, but tasted equally good out of the gate.   I hope you enjoy it,   thank you May!

2 T olive oil
1 medium sweet onion chopped
3-4 cloves of minced garlic
1 celery root, coarsely chopped (reserve some top leaves for garnish if desired)
3 leeks, cleaned and chopped (all of the white, light green and some of the dark green)
1 large or 2 small potatoes, chopped
1 bunch of yellow carrots, chopped
5 cups of water
1 cup of chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 T fresh marjoram, finely chopped (or if prefer, about 1 teaspoon of dried)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (might want more of that, but I like it subtle)

Heat the olive oil in large stockpot over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and leeks and saute until soft.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer until celery root is soft – about 35-40 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and puree in blender or with a stick blender.  Serve with a few of the celery root leaves chopped up.

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