According to the Farmer’s Almanac, celery needs three things to thrive: a long growing season, mostly cool weather, and a constant, unfailing water supply. So we’re like, “ding, ding, ding!” here in the Midwest–especially this year. Good thing I like celery as much as it likes the cool and damp : )
My suggestion? Buy plenty of that bumper celery crop and when you’ve had your fill of crudités and dip, and it’s raining yet again, make some of this comforting soup to take the chill off.
Nothing like the gelatinous glop that comes in cans labeled “Cream of Celery” this old-fashioned homemade potage has good flavor and tender texture. It’s very easy to make, only requiring that you chop your vegetables into small dice. If you use less liquid in the recipe, and a slightly larger dice, you can serve this as a side dish with chicken or fish. You can also make other creamed soups with the same base recipe, simply altering the sauté and simmer times according to the vegetable you are preparing. For example, broccoli or summer squash would require less time to cook than celery; carrot or potato, a bit more.
This soup is best served hot right after you prepare it. I’ve got a garden full of lovage—a celery-like herb with deep-green leaves, so I garnish bowlfuls of the soup with sprigs of that. If you don’t have any lovage hanging around, you can use a few tiny celery leaves as a garnish, or mince a bit of raw celery to sprinkle on top for color and a little crunch.
Note: I haven’t yet experimented with dairy-alternatives for this soup, using the butter, milk and cream that my vintage cookbooks recommend. But I’ll test again and let you know how it goes with non-dairy for the next go around.
Be well, stay warm, and eat more vegetable soup!
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 2 small bunches of celery, ribs washed, root ends removed and discarded, and leaves discarded. Ribs sliced lengthwise into thin strips and finely chopped to make 2 ½ cups diced celery.
- 2 small cloves fresh garlic, minced to make ½ Tbsp
- 1 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
- ¼ cup water
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 ½ cups chicken bone broth or chicken stock
- ¾ cup cream
- ¾ cup whole milk
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish: lovage or celery leaves, or one rib finely-diced celery
- In a heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat, melt butter. Add finely chopped celery, minced garlic and onion. Sauté, stirring until vegetables begin to soften; about two minutes. Add ¼ cup water and cover pan. Cook another two minutes. Remove lid. Stir. Once vegetables are tender but not mushy, sift flour into the pan and stir for another minute. Stir in bone broth, cream and milk. Lower heat to medium low and stir until soup begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls and garnish with celery leaves, lovage leaf sprigs, or, a bit of raw, minced celery.