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Warming Celery Soup

A white china bowl full of green celery soup, a sprig of parsley on top.
I haven’t made – worse, I don’t think I’ve eaten celery soup since living in Belgium many years ago. So when I noticed a head of celery in the fridge first thing this morning I decided to skip the braising and make a soup instead. The next question was whether to make a straightforward soup and use up some other vegetables (a couple of carrots, leeks and potatoes) or a roast celery soup.

I had a quick look at Jane Grigson’s recipe at Food52 – it convinced me to go the straightforward route, keeping the roast version for later on this winter but I wanted a lighter soup, certainly with less butter, no cream and no wastage so here’s my version. And whilst I’d be the first to admit that celery soup doesn’t sound like a winter warmer, this turned out to be an absolute delight and one that I’ll be making again for sure.

All quantities are approximate, just use what you have and adjust accordingly.

Oh and this is a great way of using up celery when you’ve a recipe that needs you to buy a whole head for just two pesky sticks.

Ingredients – serves four hungry people

  • 1 head (about 1/2 pound or 2 cups) of celery, chopped
  • 200g bacon, diced (optional, fine to omit for the vegetarian version)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped (you can use onion instead)
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • About 80g (2 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 litre (4 cups) of chicken or vegetable stock – made with a stock cube is fine
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley or thyme (4 teaspoons if you’re using fresh herbs)
  • Seasoning

Method

  1. Prepare all of the vegetables, quickly rinse the chopped leek.
  2. Add a little oil to a good sized saucepan and fry the bacon over a medium heat until starting to brown.
  3. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the butter then the celery, leek, carrots and potato and cook gently in a covered pan for 10 minutes. Don’t let the vegetables brown.
  5. Add the stock and a teaspoon of parsley.
  6. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the root veg are soft and tender.
  7. Take off the heat and puree with a stick blender if you have one; transfer to a blender/your usual method of soup pureeing).
  8. Return to the heat and bring it slowly to just under the boil, seasoning with salt, pepper and more parsley or thyme if needed.

Notes

  • Double up and freeze leftovers in single portions for a lovely lunchtime treat (it works really well in thermos flasks).
  • Served with a crusty bread and a selection of cheeses makes for a wonderful supper.
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