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~ Rich & Creamy Celery Soup (Isn't Ho-Hum at All) ~

IMG_6849Celery.  It's the swizzle stick in my Bloody Mary, a must have in my egg, tuna and potato salad, and, send back those Buffalo wings if they don't come with a crudité of celery and some blue cheese dip.   That said, in my food world, celery is not considered an exciting vegetable. No one ever gleefully remarks, "my Bloody Mary had the best stalk of celery in it", "the celery in her tuna salad was divine", or, "the celery that came with his chicken wings was outstanding".

IMG_6782Celery, however, is one of the world's most used vegetables, coming from the same plant family as carrots, parsley, fennel and caraway.  Celery, onions and carrots make up the classic French mirepoix.  Celery, onions and bell peppers are the holy trinity of Lousiana's Cajun and Creole cuisines.  Celery is a staple in almost every kitchen as it's used as a base to make many sauces, soup stocks, soups and stews.   Its highly-flavored leaves are a wonderful fresh or dried herb, and, its seeds are a popular dried spice.  Here's some info as per the trade-consumer website:

Md_20_Celery_2HRTS_15-2_rgb72ppiCelery is composed of leaf-topped stalks arranged in a conical shape and joined at a common base.  The stalks have a crunchy texture and a delicate, but mildly salty, taste. The stalks in the center are called the heart and are the most tender. Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C.  Celery should have straight, green stalks with rigid Md_19_Celery_1stalk_72_rgb72ppiribs that snap crisply when bent. The inside surfaces should be clean and smooth, and the leaves should be fresh and well colored, with no signs of wilting.  Celery Hearts represent the best of the celery stalk and are closely trimmed approximately 9 inches from the base, uniformly cut and premium packaged.  Store celery in the crisper or Md_18_CelerySingleHead_NAKEDproduce drawer of the refrigerator, up to one week. Wash right before eating. Store away from ethylene-producing fruits to avoid discoloration, spotting or decay. 

Rich and creamy soups have always been a love of mine, but, it wasn't until I actually tasted homemade cream of celery soup that I added it to my "must make" soup list.  I'm guessing here, but, I think that's how we who make homemade cream of celery soup came to start making it. Unless one has eaten it in a fine-dining restaurant or in a talented cook's home first, no one wakes up one morning and says "I think I'll make some cream of celery soup today".  

My first experience with it was in a London Restaurant, Brown Brothers.  I was told their thyme-flavored version was French in origin, and, instead of any type of roux, it was thickened with a bit of potato -- just enough potato to pull the soup together without turning it into potato soup.  

IMG_6847"I think I'll make some cream of celery soup today." ~ Melanie

IMG_67884  cups small-diced celery stalks, leaves reserved for garnish

1 1/2  cups small-diced yellow or sweet onion

1 1/2  cups peeled and small-diced gold potato

6  tablespoons salted butter (3/4 stick)

2  teaspoons herbes de Provence

3/4  teaspoon garlic powder 

3/4  teaspoon sea salt

3/4  teaspoon white pepper

2  whole bay leaves

2  cups homemade chicken stock, or, 1  14 1/2-ounce can chicken broth + enough water to total 2 cups

1/2-1  cup heavy or whipping cream

small inner celery stalks w/leaves, for garnish

IMG_6791 IMG_6792 IMG_6794 IMG_6797 IMG_6802~Step 1.  Small dice the celery, onion and potato as directed.  

In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt butter over low heat.  Add the diced celery, onions, potatoes, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, sea salt and white pepper.  Give the mixture a thorough stir.  

Adjust heat to gently sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, 6-8 minutes.

IMG_6805 IMG_6811 IMG_6814 IMG_6819~Step 2.  Add the bay leaves and chicken broth and simmer until the potato is very tender, falling apart, and starting to make the soup creamy, about 10-12 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.

IMG_6823 IMG_6827 IMG_6828 IMG_6832 IMG_6841~Step 3.  Turn the heat off.  Using a stick blender, purée the soup mixture until smooth.  

Note:  The alternative is to transfer the soup to a food processor or a blender and purée it, in batches if necessary, then return it to the pan.

Stir in the cream, until desired taste and consistency is reached.  Warm soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, until soup is steaming.

Serve hot w/a French baguette & Brie for me please!

IMG_6843Oh my divine, sublime & refined, rich & creamy, celery soup!!!

IMG_6854Creamy Celery Soup (Isn't Ho-Hum at All):  Recipe yields 6 cups soup.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan with straight, deep sides; large spoon; stick blender; soup ladle

IMG_3744Cook's Note:  If you like to entertain for special occasions and holidays, today's soup is an elegant start to any sit-down-in-the-dining-room meal.  My recipe for  ~ Meatless Mushroom Duxelles & Gruyère Crostini ~ is the perfect accompaniment.  It can be found in Categories 1, 2, 9, 11, 14, 18 or 21.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)


Teresa -- thanks for the glowing report. I love it. I put my husband on notice -- he's got to add celery to his vegetable garden!

Mel, this is a keeper! I wish I had thought of homemade celery soup before! I need look no further because you've perfected it! :)

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