To us, this seems to be a dish that was popular years ago and somehow fell out of favor. After all, when did you last see Cream of Celery Soup on a menu? In fact, we seem to recall that Campbell’s once offered a cream of celery soup; perhaps they still do, but we haven’t bought cans of Campbell’s in years and years, so we can’t be sure (if so, we suspect that cream of celery is relegated to a thickener in casseroles). But, with all the celery we’ve gotten through the CSA, we thought we’d bring it back, at least here in Scratchin’ It central.
This recipe comes direct from the Test Kitchen here at Scratchin’ It, meaning we just made it up, but, if forced to site a source, we’d just say it’s based on all the other cream soups we’ve made over the years. You can get some of them by clicking here. Or, check out all our soup recipes.
Okay, we make our own stock for soup, and, in this case, we added the leaves and tough strings from the celery to about a cup of other vegetable scraps we’d saved from earlier meals. If you want to make your stock, it’s easy. Simply simmer a cup or two of vegetables in 3-4 cups of water, along with a bay leaf, for 45 minutes, and strain. Easy. And, in case you didn’t know, a vegetable peeler works great for removing the tough strings down the backs of celery ribs. You want to remove them because a blender will have a hard time with them, leaving you with a stringy soup. For a thinner soup, you can substitute milk for the half-and-half. If you prefer a thicker, richer soup, use heavy cream. Finally, we used white pepper simply to avoid the specks from black pepper. Either will work.
Procedure in detail:
Cook onions and celery. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When melted and foamy, add the onion, garlic, celery, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the celery is tender and the onions are translucent, about 15 minutes.
Add stock and simmer. Pour in the stock and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes to give the celery a chance to become very tender.
Blend. Transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. It might take a while because celery is full of fiber (good for you), but, that fiber is tough to blend smooth. It’s also possible to have a creamy, chunky soup simply by omitting the blending step completely.
Reheat. Transfer the blended soup back into a clean saucepan — we quickly wash ours while the blender is doing its thing. Normally, we suggest that you strain blended soups, but we tried and there was too much pulp left in the soup to strain easily. It was smooth, just thick and smooth, and we thought that it was good enough. Feel free to strain if you wish. Return the soup to the stove and heat to a simmer.
Add dairy. Stir in whatever dairy you’re using; milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream, depending on how rich and creamy you want the soup to be. Once the dairy is added, don’t bring it back to a boil, or it might separate.
Taste and season. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, remembering that celery may have a slightly bitter taste that can be reduced with a bit of salt.
Serve. We served our soup with a few pieces of finely-minced celery leaves dusted on top for an accent, and we suggest you do the same to break up that expanse of single color cream soup.
Who doesn’t like cream soup? They’re creamy, smooth, and tasty, and this celery soup is no exception. Now, since our celery is grown in the desert, our soup probably had a stronger celery flavor than yours. Even so, it was a mild- tasting soup and far, far better than the taste we remember from a can. Instead, this soup tastes fresh, as soup should. As with other soups, with just a bit of planning, you can always choose freshly-made over the stuff from the store shelf. Four stars.