~recipe updated, first published way back in 2006~
~more recently updated recipes~
Awhile back, I puzzled over a tidbit in a magazine. "To have fun," it asked, "would you prefer to go to a party with lots of old friends or one where you'll know hardly anyone?"
Turns out that if FUN is the desired experience, then partying with new people is the ticket. (Okay, yes, I know, who can make such a generalization? and why is new fun better than laughing over old jokes? and were the folks who did the study, went to the parties and wrote the story all Extroverts in the Meyers-Briggs schema? and who reads this stuff anyway? Please, bear with me.)
And so it's turned out that I've been cooking and writing about vegetables for nearly an entire year now. Sure, it's great fun to try new vegetables. But it's also quite something to discover new dimensions in my standby vegetables, my "old friends" if you will.
Take the under-appreciated celery. Celery had me extolling leafy virtues in Day 247's apple and celery salad, it's my go-to salad whenever celery leaves are plentiful. It had me moaning about Day 317's simple braised celery. And here I am again, raving about a simple and yet somehow complex soup that is somehow 100% celery and yet 100% something else altogether.
The Wednesday Chef had the same reaction same reaction to celery soup, a Leslie Brenner recipe from the Los Angeles Times. Luisa's soup was as elegant as her description; mine was intentionally more rustic. Still, our two versions prove: celery can surprise.
"... marvelous. ... Very nourishing yet light and spring-time like." ~ Brigette
"... it's very good! " ~ Anonymous
"LOVE love love this soup! " ~ Anonymous
CREAM of CELERY SOUP RECIPE
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 7 cups
4 cups good chicken stock or turkey stock such as No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, diced
1 large russet potato (about 3/4 pound), peeled and diced
1 whole bunch celery, trimmed, cut in half-inch inch pieces (about 10 ribs plus leaves)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons cream, entirely optional
Bring the stock to a boil in the microwave. (This is a time-saving tip that can be omitted if there's no rush.)
Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over MEDIUM HIGH until shimmery. Add the onion and stir well to coat with fat. Let the onion cook, stirring often, while prepping the potato and celery. Add the potato and celery and stir to coat with fat. Let cook until the broth is hot, then stir in the stock. Bring the soup to a boil, cover and reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook until celery is soft, 20 - 30 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.
In two or three batches for safety, purée in a food processor or blender until smooth. (Readers report good luck with an immersion blender.) For an ultra smooth elegant version, strain out the solids and add cream. Serve and enjoy!
ALANNA'S TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
TO STRAIN OR NOT TO STRAIN When I first made this in 2006, I liked the idea of serving a creamy smooth version of this soup like Luisa's as a dinner party starter. I planned to strain out the solids through my favorite chinois. But then in 2006, I made this soup again for a family gathering. It was a big hit, everyone slurped up the last drops. I did strain the soup that time but found myself preferring it with homely fiber.
SUCH A FAVORITE This lovely celery soup recipe was originally published in 2006, just as I was ending that first mad of year of cooking a vegetable in a new way, every single day. Now that I revisit old favorite recipes, again and again, I'm pleased that the recipes taste just as good the second time around. It's a classic vegetable soup recipe, so spare and simple. And in days of rising food prices, it's also cheap to make – an entire bunch of gorgeous celery this week was only $.99, about $.50 a pound. Do know that because the soup is so light, it pairs well with crusty bread, good cheese and sandwich meat for a complete meal.
POTATO The purpose of the starchy potato is to thicken the soup. A russet potato adds the most starch, it's my favorite for thickening soup. When I use a medium-starch potato like a Yukon Gold, I leave the skins on, it compensates for less starchiness. Low-starch new potatoes or red potatoes should be saved for another purpose. No potato on hand? Cooked rice serves the same purpose, about 1-1/2 cups.
WHITE PEPPER Some folks say that white pepper has little flavor. I disagree, I love its forward pepperiness. Color-wise, white pepper works better for a more "elegant" presentation. Taste-wise, black pepper is just fine.
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MORE FAVORITE CELERY RECIPES~ Celery & Apple Salad ~
~ Celery Salad with Dates & Walnuts ~
~ Simple Braised Celery ~
~ more celery recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture