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soup advice

I am making a pureed celeriac and sage butter soup and am looking for ideas about how to give it a little subtle heat. Without some added oomph it tends to be a little bland.

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  1. White pepper?
    Raw minced garlic?
    Minced Banana Pepper??

    If you don't mind colour alteration - cayenne, or any pepper.

    1. Cayenne is my go-to in this type of case - it adds warmth without really leaving any other flavor.

      White pepper would be another interesting choice, but it has a distinctive flavor that you have to decide if you want in your soup.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc

        For subtle heat without messing too much with the flavor, I'm with sandylc.

      2. I wonder if more salt or a tiny bit of umami flavor would amp up the flavor of this soup without adding heat? Think about a little bit of reconstituted mushroom broth (without the mushrooms) or some grated parmesan cheese.

        1. if you like a little smokiness, a dash of ancho chile powder is nice. Not hot but a smoky finish when you swallow it.

          1. I'm not one for heat. For extra oomph in my soups. I just top my bowl of soup with grated parma,or romano cheese. And drizzle with a little olive oil.I'd wait untill tomorrow and taste it again, maybe it does not need heat.

            1. Start with sauteed onion and garlic, use a strong veg broth, more salt than you think (root veggies seem to need it), a parmesan rind in the broth would be nice.
              To add a kick i would make a brown butter with chopped sage to drizzle ontop just before serving. A pinch of red pepper flakes ontop would be a pretty contrast and a nice pop of heat

              1. I'd start simple with some cumin. Some ground in the soup and some seeds on top for some crunch. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, as the celeraic-apple soup I made last season was also a little blah.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nokitchen

                  Seconding the cumin suggestion. I'd coarsely grind seeds and fry them along with aromatics at the beginning.

                    1. re: monavano

                      One of the great underrated and underused items in cooking.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I seriously have to keeps some on hand. Do you freeze it (like ginger)?

                        1. re: monavano


                          Use fresh, they're hardy roots and you can grow them, easily, indoors.

                  1. I agree with chowfinder. If you want subtle heat instead of real pepper heat, then I recommend:

                    Ground pepper (white or black)

                    In addition, like sandylc said, I find cayenne pepper powder to be on the weaker side.

                    1. I'd add a pinch of jalapeno pepper (not the chile) when you're sweating the aromatics, and veggies.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: letsindulge

                        Roast some poblano's, seed, chop then blend in soup.

                      2. smoked paprika or pimenton add nice dimension, but what it might just need is more salt and acid. by nature it's a mild soup.

                        1. a little chipotle in adobo puree is nice with celery root. just make it a subtle, background warmth.