Cepa de apio is a great vegetable, and crema de cepa de apio (creole celery root cream) is a very delicious and easy way to prepare it. A new Dominican recipe, with a root vegetable we've enthusiastically adopted and produce, you can make a vegan version, or add dairy.
By- Last reviewed . Published Jul 27, 2011
Why we ❤️ it
This soup is traditionally served in the highland areas of the Dominican Republic, like Jarabacoa and Constanza, where especially in winter, the nights can be fresh. Sitting by an open fire wearing your winter woollies, watching the pine trees rustle in the chilly night breeze, you could be forgiven for forgetting that you are on a Caribbean island.
If a light lunch isn't the kind of thing that appeals to you, this is still a great dish that you must absolutely try.
What is cepa de apio?
Although the Dominican name cepa de apio (which I found out after exhaustive research on the internet is also used in Venezuela and Puerto Rico) translates literally as "celery root" this is not the same as the actual root of the celery plant known in English as "celeriac", although the two plants are closely related.
The scientific name for cepa de apio is Arracacia xanthorrhiza Bancroft. In English, it is variously known as "white carrot", "Peruvian parsnip" or "Peruvian carrot", because it is most common in the Andean region.
Its indigenous Andean name is arracacha or arracha, and it was traditionally cultivated by the Incas for both human and animal consumption. These days, it is being rediscovered in the Andes as a useful crop because of its durability and nutritional value. In Brazil especially, it is used as baby food.
As far as taste and appearance go, it could be described as a gentle combination of carrot, celeriac, and root parsley, or as Aunt Clara put it - "somewhere between potato and auyama (pumpkin)" in flavor and color.
Cepa de apio and sopa de raíz de apio.
How to cook cepa de apio
To give it its full name, cepa de apio criollo (creole celery root) is a tuber. As such it can be used in the same manner as most other tubers: as well as in this creamy soup, cepa de apio can be eaten boiled or as an ingredient in stews, as a puree, or roasted and fried in slices.
On our blog, we have several cepa de apio recipes, like this soup, and a similar one combined with ginger. You can find as well a cepa de apio puree combined with yuca, and used as an option for Dominican yaroa. We also have a cepa de apio casserole very much worth trying.
I have to say that the moment I tasted it, I was an instant convert to cepa de apio. It is both delicate and tasty, aromatic, and delicious. It reminded me of tender, juicy, and tasty English parsnips at their best. I have not been such a fan of boiled and mashed víveres like the more common yuca and yautia until now, but this ingredient is certain to become a regular item on my shopping list.
Cepa de apio benefits
Cepa de apio is said to have several excellent nutritional qualities, most notably a high calcium content (four times as much as potato).
- If you can't find cepa de apio, celeriac will work too, though celeriac is not as starchy and will not have the same creaminess.
- If you want to make the soup more creamy and thick, just let more liquid evaporate.
- Nutritional information was calculated using celeriac, as cepa de apio is not included in the food database used to calculate it.
- For a vegan version, do not use sour cream for garnishing; all the other ingredients are vegan-friendly.
About this recipe
I was introduced to this Crema de Cepa de Apio (Creole Celery Root Cream) for the very first time a few years back. I had been looking out for cepa de apio since I first heard of its existence when a friend told me it was an extremely rich source of calcium and one of the better-tasting tubers, or as Dominicans call them, viveres.
Crema de cepa de apio - "celery root puree" or "cream of celery root" was described as a typical delicacy of Constanza, a scenic highland region in the center of the Dominican Republic, famous for its cool climate and as a fruit and vegetable growing area.
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Crema de Cepa de Apio Recipe (Creole Celery Root Cream)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large red onion, , chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 carrot, peeled and sliced
- 1 cepa de apio, (about 2 lb [0.85 kg]), peeled and chopped
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1½ quart vegetable broth, [1.5 lt] or homemade vegetable broth recipe
- 1½ teaspoon salt, (or more, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper, (or more, to taste) (freshly-cracked, or ground)
1. Sauteing vegetables
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion. Cook and stir until it turns translucent. Add cumin powder, bay leaf, celery. Cook and stir for a minute.
2. Cooking roots
- Add carrots, celeriac, and potatoes, lower heat to a minimum, and add two tablespoons of broth.Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
- Add the remaining vegetable stock, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, blend the soup, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Return to the pot and reheat.
- Serve and garnish with the garnish combination of your preference.
Nutritional information is calculated automatically based on ingredients listed. Please consult your doctor if you need precise nutrition information.
More cepa de apio recipes
Cepa de apio has become very popular in our country, and we have some great cepa de apio recipes to share with you, though none are traditional recipes.