Winter Soups Take Root

Curtis Stone
Photography by Ray Kachatorian

When I walk in the door on a bone-chillingly cold winter’s day, I enjoy hunkering down in front of the fireplace with a piping hot bowl of homemade soup or stew to warm body and spirit.

No matter what the season, my cooking philosophy is this: Keep it simple and cook with naturally produced, seasonal ingredients, just as Mother Nature intended. If you use the right ingredients at the right time of year, it’s hard to go wrong.

The beauty of soups and stews is that the combination of seasonal ingredients you can pile into recipes is infinite. During the winter months, veggies like carrot, parsnip, potato, cauliflower, celery root, and fennel are in season and cook up beautifully in soups and stews, softening in flavorful broths on the stovetop.

I have two restaurants and two little boys, so life is pretty busy in the Stone home right now. That’s why now more than ever, make-ahead meals like soups are a real lifesaver for my wife Linds and I. There’s nothing better than the delicious aromas of homemade soup or stew wafting through the house while the family is puttering around on a Sunday ­afternoon.

What’s great about Weeknight Navy Bean and Ham Soup is that you can make it with dried beans but without the usual 12-hour presoak, becoming a wholesome meal you can enjoy any weeknight — thus the name. Though it may look unassuming, Creamy Celery Root Soup is a favorite in the Stone household. Each spoonful boasts a rich texture and wonderful flavor reminiscent of celery and parsley — sure to win the whole family over.

Creamy Celery Root Soup

(Makes 8 servings)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped shallots
3 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Creamy Celery Root Soup looks unassuming because of its pale creamy color, but each spoonful is full of flavor.
Photography by Ray Kachatorian

In large heavy saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 2 minutes, or until translucent. Add celery root, broth, milk, cream, thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and salt and bring to gentle simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer very gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes, or until celery root is tender enough to mash with spoon. Remove from heat and remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Working in batches, using slotted spoon, transfer celery root and shallots to blender (preferably high-powered one) and blend until smooth, adding enough of cooking liquid to form smooth and creamy soup (you may not need all of liquid); return pureed soup to pot and rewarm over low heat before serving. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with chives, and serve.

Make-Ahead: Can be made one day ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over low heat, adding more broth if necessary.

Per serving
Calories: 205
Total Fat: 11 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Sodium: 665 mg
Carbohydrate: 21 g
Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 7.6 g
Diabetic Exchanges: ¼ vegetable, ½ low-fat milk, 1 ¾ fat

Weeknight Navy Bean and Ham Soup

(Makes 8 servings)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces 3/4-inch-thick sliced cooked smoked ham (such as Black Forest), torn into 3/4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 pound dried navy beans or other small white beans,picked over, rinsed, and drained
5 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Photography by Ray Kachatorian

In 8-quart pressure cooker, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add ham and sauté for 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and sage and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add beans, 5 cups water, and broth. Lock pressure cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over high heat, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low to stabilize pressure and cook 40 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to subside on its own, about 20 minutes. Unlock pressure cooker and remove lid, tilting it away from you to allow steam to escape. Beans will be very tender. For thicker consistency, coarsely mash bean mixture. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Make-Ahead: Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over medium heat, adding more broth if necessary.

Per serving
Calories: 284
Total Fat: 7 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Sodium: 593 mg
Carbohydrate: 38 g
Fiber: 10 g
Protein: 19 g
Diabetic Exchanges: ½ vegetable, 2 ½ starch, ½ lean protein, 1 fat

Feeling under the weather? Try Curtis’ “Homemade Chicken Soup Makes Me Feel Better” recipe, featuring kohlrabi, celery root, and turnips, available at

Excerpted from Good Food, Good Life by Curtis Stone. Copyright © 2015 by Curtis Stone. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher. Photography by Ray Kachatorian. 

Curtis Stone’s Homemade-Chicken-Soup-Makes-Me-Feel-Better Soup

Homemade Chicken Soup Makes Me Feel Better 

Chicken Soup
Photography by Ray Kachatorian

(Makes 8 servings)


  1. Using a large sharp knife, cut the chicken into 8 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 2 breasts). Reserve the carcass.
  2. Place chicken and carcass in heavy 8-quart pot. Add water, bay leaf, thyme, and lemon zest and bring water to simmer over medium-high heat, skimming off foam that rises to surface. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer gently for about 45 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through.
  3. Using tongs, transfer chicken pieces to large bowl and set aside until cool enough to handle. Set broth aside.
  4. Remove chicken meat from bones and discard skin, bones, and cartilage. Coarsely shred meat into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Remove herbs, lemon zest, and chicken carcass from broth and discard. Add onion, carrots, kohlrabi, celery root, turnip, and rice to broth and simmer for about 22 minutes, or until vegetables are cooked through and rice is tender.
  6. Add cooked chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir in lemon juice and parsley. Ladle into bowls and serve.


Make-Ahead: The soup can be made up to three days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Rewarm, covered, over medium heat, adding more broth if necessary.

Nutrition facts

Per serving

Calories: 241

Total Fat:  5 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Sodium: 428 mg

Carbohydrate: 22 g

Fiber: 3 g

Protein: 26 g

Diabetic Exchanges: ⅓ Starch, ½ Vegetable, 3 Lean meat


If you’re looking for more savory soup recipes for a cold day, Curtis Stone’s Creamy Celery Root Soup and Weeknight Navy Bean and Ham Soup, from our January/February 2017 issue, are sure to warm you up.

Celery Root Puree with Pear Anjou

Celery root, or celeriac, tastes best after the first frost, can be left in the garden to be harvested when needed, or pulled and stored for up to six months in a cool spot, writes Associate Professor Larry G. Campbell of West Virginia University Extension Service in “Rediscover Forgotten Root Crops.”

Make this savory-sweet puree of pears and the delicious root, adapted from Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes by Diane Morgan.

Celery Root Puree with Pear Anjou
(Makes 8 servings as a side dish)

Celery Roots, photo by Antonis Achilleos.
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos. Excerpted from Roots by Diane Morgan.



  1. Fill 6-quart saucepan two-thirds full of water. Add celery root and 1 teaspoon salt, cover partially, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat so water simmers and cook until celery root is tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain celery root and return to pan. Place pan over low heat for 1 minute to evaporate any excess moisture.
  2. Meanwhile, using vegetable peeler, peel, halve, and core pears and cut into 1-inch chunks. In large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add pears and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are soft, about 5 minutes. Add vermouth and nutmeg and continue cooking until pears are very soft and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
  3. In food processor, combine half each of celery root, pears, and cream and process until completely smooth. Transfer purée to warmed serving bowl. Repeat with remaining celery root, pears, and cream and add to bowl. Season with salt and white pepper.
  4. Serve immediately or keep warm in top of double boiler or cover and rewarm in microwave oven.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving

Calories: 227
Total fat: 10.7 grams

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Saturated fat:


Carbohydrate: 26.5 grams
Fiber: 4.5 grams
Protein: 1.6 grams
Sodium: 92 milligrams

*Due to its larger crystal size, a single teaspoon of Kosher salt contains less sodium than a teaspoon of table salt, which is a finer grain texture. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendation for sodium intake is 2300 milligrams or less per day, the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of table salt.

Cover of the book Roots by Diane Morgan. Photographs by Antonis Achilleos.

Recipe adapted from Roots by Diane Morgan. Photographs by Antonis Achilleos. (Chronicle; October 2012; $40.00/Hardcover: ISBN-13: 978-0811878371).