With single/light cream
Update: Made this again over the weekend to use up what was left of my celery. This newer version was quite simply exquisite, like liquid gold. So, I’m going to give a second version within this post as this is how I’ll be making mine from now on. Unless I want to include pears. In that case I’d use the first version. Anyway, the celery I buy is bog standard supermarket fodder that’s probably intensively farmed. The reason for stating that is: if bought organically or from a Farmer’s Market chances are that celery will be more powerful in flavour. I’d suggest cooking the soup, blend, then taste for any needed extra stock as the flavour just might be too intense. For me the second version is sublime. And that’s from someone that doesn’t even like the smell of raw celery!
(Previous text follows.) Haven’t made this in several years. Although I use quite a lot of celery in stocks and sauces I neither like the smell nor the taste of raw celery. Normally I would cook this in Autumn with unripe Conference pears (I’m curious how this would taste with a Cox’s apple instead) and serve it with ripe Stilton cheese. This time it’s just plain ol’ celery – partly to use it up. Easy to make it does involve the rather tedious task of rubbing through a fine wire sieve after the soup has been puréed/liquidised. Celery, especially the outer stalks, can be stringy. To avoid that horrible texture rubbing through, sometimes, is essential.
This is quite a good base for several soups, including broccoli. It’s also possible to use up certain veg that might be lurking in cupboards, too. In this I trimmed the stem of a broccoli that I’d used for florets, split that in half lengthways and cooked it with the celery. It was then picked out and discarded. Better to have those nutrients and flavour in my soup rather than chucking it in the bin without using it. Carrots, onion and leek could all be used.
Serves 3 – 4 (Original version):
- 40g (1.41 oz) x plain flour
- up to 40ml (0.084 pt US Liq) x oil, sunflower or rapeseed
- ½ x tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to personal taste
- 1 x whole celery, washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 3 x small garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
- 1 litre (2.11 pt US Liq) x water
- up to 2 x vegetable stock cubes
- handful of celery leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 – 2 x unripe Conference pears – optional
- ripe Stilton cheese, to serve – optional
- single/light cream – optional
Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.
- Put a large heavy-based saucepan on low heat, electric No 1 (out of 6). Add the oil and the flour, the latter sieved if necessary. Stir through occasionally. Allow the runny roux to bubble slightly but do not let the flour turn brown. Cook out the flour for several minutes, taking it off heat if too much bubbling occurs. Just before adding the water sprinkle over the cayenne pepper.
- Pour in the water and add the stock cubes. Up the heat to No 4 and stir often to prevent flour from forming lumps. If lumps do occur whisk until they disappear.
- When the stock begins to boil take off heat and add the celery and garlic. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to No 2 and cook (with a lid) until celery is soft. Take off heat and allow to cool slightly before adding to a liquidiser/blender. When cool enough blitz until smooth. Rinse out the saucepan a little, add a fine wire sieve and pour in some of the soup. With a wooden spoon rub until most of the soup filters through. Discard the pulp. Repeat until all of the soup has been rubbed through.
- If using celery leaves add them to the soup after rubbing through and put back on heat. Bring to near boiling point again, which should allow enough time for the stems of the leaves to cook.
- olive oil
- 340g (11.99 oz) x prepared celery (weight after trimming the stalks), washed, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 2 x medium garlic cloves, peeled, root end sliced off and garlic chopped
- 1 x dried bay leaf, ripped
- 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) water
- 1 x organic very low salt vegetable stock cube
- ¹/4 x scant tsp cayenne pepper, more to personal taste
- 1 x dst oil
- 1 x dst plain flour (all purpose)
- single/light cream to serve
- Pour the water into a large heavy-based saucepan, add the stock cube, bay leaf, celery and sprinkle over a little cayenne. Put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer for up to 30 minutes, with a lid on pan.
- In the meantime place a small saucepan on low heat only. Add the oil and flour and stir through to combine. If any bubbling occurs take off heat and allow to cool slightly. Put back on heat several times, if necessary, to cook out the flour. Take off heat and set aside.
- When the stock mixture has cooked add the roux or flour and oil mixture, up the heat to No 4 and stir often to prevent lumps from forming. Take off heat and allow to cool before pouring into a liquidiser or blender. Rinse out the saucepan a little, add a fine wire sieve and pour in some of the soup. With a wooden spoon rub until most of the soup filters through. Discard the pulp. Repeat until all of the soup has been rubbed through.
- Taste at this point for any needed stock to thin or diminish the intensity of the celery bought.
- Serve with single/light cream and pan-fried potato cubes or croutons.
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