Celeriac Dumplings in Tomato Broth

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 900 ml (1½ pints) vegetable stock, preferably home-made
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 140 g (5 oz) frozen petit pois
  • 2 tomatoes, about 100 g (3½ oz) in total, skinned and roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • sprigs of fresh basil to garnish

Celeriac dumplings:

  • 150 g (5½ oz) celeriac, diced, or 55 g (2 oz) cooked celeriac, mashed
  • 75 g (2½ oz) fine fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 125 g (4½ oz) soft mild goat’s cheese
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preheat the grill to the hottest setting, then grill the red pepper for about 10 minutes, turning it often, until the skin is charred all over. Put it in a polythene bag and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the pepper, discard the seeds and cut the flesh into 1 cm (1/2 in) squares.

For the dumplings, cook the diced celeriac in boiling water for 10–15 minutes or until very tender. Drain well, then purée in a blender or food processor, or mash until smooth. Set aside to cool.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the leek and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the red pepper, stock and tomato purée. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the peas halfway through the cooking. Remove from the heat. Stir in the tomatoes and seasoning to taste, then set aside.  Add the breadcrumbs, goat’s cheese, basil and egg to the celeriac, with seasoning to taste. Mix well until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Use 2 small spoons (teaspoons are suitable) to shape the mixture into 12 small dumplings, setting them on a plate as they are made.  Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Gently lower half the dumplings, one by one, into the water on a draining spoon. Bring the water back to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4–5 minutes. Use the draining spoon to remove the dumplings from the pan to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.  Return the tomato broth to the heat and bring to the boil. Ladle the soup into bowls, add the dumplings and garnish with basil. Serve immediately.