Saturday, November 19, 2016

Cream of Celery Soup

I had a bit of cream left from the two pies and an urge to make soup once it finally got below 80º outside.  My seedling lettuces were not happy with the heat wave and I need to replant a couple of spots.  Arugula doesn't seem to mind, though.

All cream soups have pretty much the same base: roux, dairy, and broth.  The broth gives the soup depth and keeps it from being all milk.  As a result, you can use this recipe for almost any "cream of" veggie soup and just alter the main ingredient and the herb you choose to accent with.

I have to admit, the star of this one is the celery fresh out of the back yard.  I tend to think of celery as an herb rather than a vegetable, and cooking it an hour after it is harvested really reinforces this concept.  You probably won't get raves for this soup using market celery.  However, since most cooks use this in recipes rather than by itself, the less flavorful ingredient that is readily available won't be noticed.

1-1/2 C finely diced celery
1/2 C finely diced onion
2 Tb butter
1 Tb flour
*1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 C white wine (optional)
1-1/2 C low-sodium chicken broth
*1 C half-and-half, or cream for greater richness
salt and pepper to taste

1.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Cook celery and onion until softened, about five minutes.  Add flour and stir into a paste.

2.  If using wine, pour that in now so the alcohol can boil off.  I decided to use 2 Tb tequila instead because I was having nachos for dinner.  If you use hard stuff instead of wine in any recipe, cut the amount in half as a general rule.

3.  Add broth or stock 1/2 C at a time so it can gradually thicken between additions.  Sprinkle in the sage during this process.  Once all the stock has been added, simmer for 10 minutes.
4.  Taste soup, then add salt and pepper.  Keep in mind that cream will dull the salt, but not by much, so don't worry if the soup seems too salty at the moment.  Stir in the cream, allow to simmer for 5 minutes, and taste again.  If everything is balanced, serve hot with celery leaf as garnish.

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