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  • Loy Bernal Carlos


I was looking to use as many of the leftover New Year's Eve ingredients as I could, but what do you do with some blackberries, a giant celeriac, some leftover lemongrass stalks and a can of coconut milk. My gut (pun intended) was telling me that a soup was more likely what the final product was going to be. And for a while, I toyed with the idea of actually mixing the blackberry with the soup base. And while I had an inkling that the flavors would work out fine, I was afraid that the color would not. So I chose to separate the two components and what we have is a very simple to make but flavorful and elegant soup that can be served at any temperature. It's great served in lemon rind shot glasses at parties during the summer, or a nice warm bread bowl.



1 celeriac (celery root) – peeled and diced to ½ inches (3-4 cups)

3 cups green peas

1 large onion – diced

1 stalk lemongrass

2 cups chicken stock

1 can (13.5 FL oz/400 ml) coconut milk

1 strip of bacon

3 + 2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

salt and pepper


1 pint fresh blackberries

2 tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 tbsp chipotle in adobo sauce/sriracha (optional)

salt and pepper

Peel celery root using a peeler or knife and dice into ½ inch cubes. Dice large onion. Cut lemongrass into large strips, taking out the tough outer layer and ends, then pound. Slice strip of bacon or pancetta to small squares or strips.

In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. When oil is hot, add strips of bacon. Let fat render. When bacon is crisp, take out of pot and set aside. To the pot, add onion and saute until translucent. Add diced celeriac.

Mix until all have been cooked a little and oil has covered the celeriac evenly. (3-5 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

Add chicken stock and coconut milk. Stir until well blended. Add pounded lemongrass stalks. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced and celeriac pieces are tender (15-20 minutes).

Meanwhile, make the blackberry aioli. In a blender, add pint of blackberries and clove of garlic. Puree while adding two tablespoons of good olive oil. (If desired, you may add the chipotle in adobo sauce, sriracha or any other hot sauce you prefer to give it a kick). Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

About 5 minutes before celeriacs are ready, add green peas. Let simmer. Take out the stalks of lemongrass. Then either in a blender or with a handheld blender, puree the soup until the color changes and all the solid ingredients create a smooth and creamy texture. Add two tablespoons butter.

To serve: Ladle into a soup bowl. Top with blackberry aioli and sprinkle with bacon bits.

Can be served at any temperature.

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