Cream of Celeriac Soup with Wheat Beer and Bacon

Chef Jeroen Meus

I’ve found the Jamie Oliver of Belgium and it’s Jeroen Meus! He’s young, wears cool sneakers, has funky hair, and approaches cooking in a casual way. Oh, and he is an amazing chef! He has his own cooking show called Dagelijkse Kost ( or in English “Daily Grub”) and a great website full of recipes. His descriptions of cooking are lively and sprinkled with Leuven slang that make him very fun to watch. Lately, Billy and I have been turning to Jeroen’s website and cooking tutorials when we are out of our own ideas. He has an array of recipes that range between 15th century Belgian classics to Thai Green Curries.

Celeriac… ugly but tasty.

This week, Billy and I were looking to make a dish with a Belgian winter veggie. Belgium has a WIDE array of winter vegetables. Sure, Belgium is wet and cold in the winter but it only occasionally frosts therefore the growing season is much longer here compared to that of Canada’s. Belgian endives (witloof), parsnips, and celeriac are popular vegetables for Belgian winter dishes. Yesterday, we decided to try a dish with celeriac and found Jeroen’s recipe for Knolseldersoep met witbier, cheddar, en geroosterde pancetta. It is such a great recipe that I have to share it with my English-speaking friends. This is also good opportunity for me to work on translating Dutch text to English. See, everybody is learning!

Cream of Celeriac Soup with Wheat Beer, Cheddar, and Smoked Pancetta
A warming autumn soup that tastes rich but will only cost around €2 per bowl! This recipe is huge and will easily serve 6 people. See his video tutorial here.

Ingredients
Soup:
2 1/2 litres of Chicken Broth
1 Celeriac
3 big Onions
1 small clove of Garlic
2 cans of Hoegaarden (Wheat Beer)
1 squirt of olive oil
Couple of Bay Leaves
Couple sprigs of Thyme (dried Thyme works too for those who don’t have fresh herbs growing)
Couple of Parsley Stems

Garnish:
6 slices of pancetta (spanish smoked ham) or smoked bacon
150 grams of cheddar
A bit of Thyme

Finishing Touch:
200 g Cream
Pepper
Salt
Nutmeg

How To Make It
1. Make chicken broth and pour into a large pot over medium heat.
2. In a separate deep-frying pan, heat up olive oil and toss in your chopped onion and garlic. Be sure to stir frequently here, so the onions do not brown because then you will lose the pale velvety colour of your soup.
3. Wash the celeriac and then peel the outside. Dice into pieces and toss them in with the simmering onions. The the vegetables simmer here for 5 minutes.
4. If you have fresh herbs on hand, gather the thyme and parsley into a bouquet by tying them together with some twine, and toss it in the pot. If not, add your onions and celeriac to the chicken broth in the big pot and then add your dried spices.
5. Add the beer to the big pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes (this removes the alcohol from the beer).
6. Turn the heat down to low heat, put the lid on, and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
7. To make your garnish, grill the pancetta or the smoked bacon, chop up thyme, and grate the cheddar cheese. Set aside.
8. After 20 minutes are up, its time to blend the soup with a mixer. Remove from heat and slowly add cream in between mixing to get a velvety and smooth soup. Taste your soup and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.
9. Serve in bowls garnished with grated cheddar cheese, bacon (or pancetta), and thyme. Enjoy!