Monday, April 11, 2011

Cream of Celery Soup

I think this is the first soup I ever made from scratch.  As a newlywed with The Joy of Cooking on the bookshelf, I felt confident beyond my experience in the kitchen for sure.  This was in the mid-70s and before food processors arrived to slice and dice soup ingredients.  Alas, the blender we received as a wedding gift had not survived the spoon I forgot to take out of it before turning it on.  The spoon didn't fare too well either.  I read over recipes to find one that didn't require blending before serving and came upon this recipe for cream of celery soup.  I've served it often in the ensuing years.  It's not really a cream soup as it has only a dash of half and half and I don't add the cornstarch to thicken it.  Even in summer, we don't shy away from hot soups and this one is perfect in that season.  It is light and has a fresh taste.  Andrew commented again that it is the only way celery is tolerable.  Little does he know that I plan to make a celery salad for his dining pleasure soon.  I'll share the recipe and his reaction.

Cream of Celery Soup inspired by The Joy of Cooking

1 Tbsp butter
2 cups thinly sliced celery, including leaves
1 cup sliced onions
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a large pot, melt the butter and add the celery, onions and garlic.  Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until opaque--about ten minutes.
2.  Add the chicken stock, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pot.  Simmer for twenty minutes.  Cool slightly and pour the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing down on the salads to extract all their juices.  Discard the solids.
3.  Return the liquid to the pot and add the milk and half and half.  Heat through.
4.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE:  The original recipe calls for the soup to be thickened with cornstarch.  I don't do this as we don't care for soups thickened that way.  If you would like to keep this step, reserve 1/4 cup of the milk and dissolve 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch in it.  Gradually stir this mixture back into the hot soup and bring just to the boiling point before serving.

Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.