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Friday, October 23, 2009

Celery Soup - Foodie Friday







From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...
I began the effort to "green" my kitchen several years ago. One of the areas I knew needed to be addressed was the amount of waste I generated as I prepared and cooked our meals. I began with an honest evaluation of food that was purchased and never used, or food that went bad before it could be used. I also took a look at leftovers that spoiled before they made it back to our table. The first thing I addressed was "right sizing" the number and size of portions I prepared for our meals. Recipes were sized to feed two or create planned leftovers. The harder part was identifying the true waste lurking in the refrigerator. For whatever reason, my vegetable crispers always held some food that seemed destined for the garbage can. I was especially bad with things like green onions, peppers and celery. It took some doing, and a lot of planning, but I eventually got to the point where what was purchased was eaten. Celery was my biggest problem. I would use a stalk or two but had no plan to use what remained. At one time I had the same problem with carrots. I solved that by searching out recipes that would finish the bunch before week's end. While it was harder with celery, I used the same approach and eventually found ways to use it. This light and simple soup is one of the recipes I use to make sure that my celery doesn't go to waste. I like, whenever possible, to add chopped fresh fennel to the soup pot along with the celery. The flavors are compatible because they come from the same plant family. While it's listed as an optional ingredient, celery salt adds enormously to the flavor the soup. As you scan the ingredient list you'll see that this is a perfect vegan meal. The soup can be table ready in an hour. It is too light to serve as a dinner entree, but it's perfect for lunch or a first course and it's great for company. You'll find that the celery is too stringy for an immersion blender to do its job. It really is best to use a blender or food processor and then strain the puree through a fine mesh sieve. The flavor of the soup improves as it sits, so I try to make this a day before I plan to serve it. Here's the recipe.

Celery Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
1-1/2 cups diced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 large baking potato, cut in 1/2-inch dice to yield 2 cups
10 stalks of celery, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch dice to yield 6 cups
1 small bulb fennel, trimmed, core and chopped (optional)
5 cups reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar vinegar
1 teaspoon celery salt (optional) or table salt to taste
1 large pinch pepper
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
Celery leaves for garnish

Directions:
1) Place oil or butter in a soup pot. Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2) Add potatoes, celery and fennel (if using). Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
3) Puree soup in batches using a blender or food processor. Pass puree through a strainer, pressing solids with the back of a spoon.
4) Return to a clean pot. Add pepper and celery or table salt. Stir in cream if using. Bring soup to a simmer and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

This recipe is being linked to:
Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday

57 comments :

Joy said...

Celery tends to sit in my crisper also, in fact there is some there right now! This soup looks delicious and such a good idea to use it up.

petite nyonya said...

This must be a really delicious soup! Celery is one of my favorite veggies and apparently I read that it's good for maintaining a balanced blood pressure.

KathyB. said...

You are so right about vegetables ending up being waste...good thing I have chickens, that way I can't feel too badly because they give me eggs , thus converting "waste" to eggs allows me to feel somewhat justified. However, it does end up being expensive chicken food. I love celery and this does sound and look like a winner in my kitchen.

Debinhawaii said...

Another gorgeous soup--I like all the flavors in this one and I have the same issue with celery so this is going on the "to try" list, ;-)

susan said...

Mary-I know I will make this. I love soup of any kind! I eat my leftover celery with peanut butter for lunch. I left an ingredient out of my Mexican cornbread muffins but have edited now..sorry!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Your celery soup sounds perfect for the rainy day we expect here in the mountains. Beautiful photos too. I have a difficult time photographing soup and have it look pretty.
Sam

Penny said...

Mary, this is such a good idea to use up celery. It looks so creamy and smooth.

Martha said...

I've never made celery soup although as a child we used to eat (and love) the canned stuff. will have to try this sometime!

darnold23 said...

Thanks for the lemon pudding recipe. I love anything to do with lemons and limes:) Thanks for posting to Chttp://diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com/2009/10/over-top-award-and-hazelnut-and.html#rock Pot Wednesday. You have an award waiting for you here:

Beverly said...

Mary, this sounds delicious.

I have the same problem with a few items in my vegetable drawer. I always try to remember to ask my neighbor if she wants to share the celery.

Allison Shops said...

I've never had celery soup. Must give it a try. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by.

~ ~ Ahrisha ~ ~ said...

Hi Mary~ ~
Not fond of the taste of celery. I tend to use it sparingly in my cooking so when I buy a bunch I will put the leaf ends into a plastic bag and freeze them. I will freeze about 3 inches of the ends with the leaves because I like them in soups. When I need a little celery I open the bag and pull out a piece or two. They do not freeze into a clump. The leaves help to keep them seperate so it's easy to use only what I need.
Have you tried freezing your celery?

bj said...

I will sure give this one a try. I love soups of any kind.
Leftovers and fresh veggies seldom go to waste around here. I make what my mama called IceBox Stew..even in the summertime. It freezes so well and i do love having my freezer full of meals.
Seems the one thing that goes to waste with me is about a half head of cabbage. We love it but can never eat the whole thing...I don't buy it too often .
Thanks so much for all your good recipes, Mary. Have a blessed day.

Mary said...

Ahrisha. I never tried tofreeze it for fear the texture would dramatically change. I'll do a test run next time I have a stalk or two left over. Thanks for the suggestion.

Mrs. P. said...

I am a huge celery fan...I know I would LOVE this soup. Thanks for posting, Mary :)

Blessings!
Gail

Gaby said...

looks delicious Mary! I am a huge celery fan - mostly because I feel like I can eat a ton and not eat any calories! haha - great job!

Queen B. said...

WHAT A FABULOUS IDEA ! I have the same problem with food in my cripser...such a waste.
THis is the PERFECT solution.
Thanks for the inspiration :)

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Good morning Mary, this looks delicious. I think Mr. P would love this soup. I'll definetly try it this w/k. Thanks so much for swinging in and for leaving such kind comments. Good luck in winning the basket give away.
hugs ~lynne~

Cathy said...

Your combination of celery and fennel sounds delish, Mary. I have the same problem with waste, especially when my eyes are bigger than my stomach at my farmers market. It's so easy to over buy.

Karen at Nittany Inspirations said...

There is just the two of us and so many fruit and vegetables get thrown away. I purchased the Debbie Meyer Green Bags. They really do work in extending the life of produce and have paid for themselves.

Thanks for your nice comment. It's a real compliment coming from an expert cook.

Rettabug said...

Mary, I'm always trying to use up my celery...it usually goes into chicken soup... so I thank you for this new recipe to try. It looks luscious!

Diann @ The Thrifty Groove said...

Hi Mary!

I have to confess, during the summer months I slacked off so much when it comes to utilizing all the leftover. But, now that cooler weather is here and we are starting into the "nesting" part of the year, I am really challenging myself to not waste food.

I try, once a week, to toss all the veggies that are starting to go soft that I know I won't use into a pot with water and herbs and simmer to make a veggie stock. Occasionally I will do this and then throw all of it in a blender and make a thick veggie soup base to freeze.

This recipe is a great idea for celery! It sounds easy to make, which is always good around here! LOL Also, celery is one of the cheapest veggies throughout the year.

I have a question, we grow fennel but, not the big bulb kind. So, I don't have fennel bulbs. Do you think fennel leaves would give it the same (or close) flavoring?

Thanks for the recipe!

have a great day!

Diann :)

Nancy Jane said...

Now this looks just lovely - the green is striking - and I bet the flavor beats the dickens out of that old canned stuff! A must try... Nancy

heartnsoulcooking said...

GREAT!!! recipe. I love fennel in soups and with the celery it sounds just wonderful.
Geri

Joyce said...

Good idea since I can't tell you how many heads of celery I end up tossing out each month. I have tried every trick in the book to keep it crisp in my veggie bin but after a week it looks pathetic.
Joyce

Mary said...

Diann, Re: fennel. It's been my experience that the fennel you are describing isn't much used because there not much to eat. Because everything is pureed in this soup it might work here and would certainly do no harm. Don't use the fronds, but go ahead and add about a cup of the chopped stems and see what happens.

Dreaming In Pink With Roses said...

Hi Mary! Thank you for coming by to visit & leaving such wonderful comments! Wow! I love your Blog! Tons of wonderful Recipes! I'm really going to enjoy browsing through all of them!I LOVE celery & this celery soup sounds really good!I signed up as a follower so I'll come back to visit often!
Blessings ~ Teresa

Debbie said...

Love all the flavors in this soup. It sounds delicious!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Nice idea to use up celery this way, Mary! I like cream soups of all kinds so I'm sure I'd enjoy this..thanks!

lk (Healthy Delicious) said...

beautiful, and what a great way to use up celery! i always buy a bunch because I need a stalk or two, and the rest sits and sits until I toss it. No more!

Maria said...

I am in a soup mood! Love this one.

The Blonde Duck said...

How neat! I never knew you could make celery soup, but it sounds so healthy!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

I always say that if I were stranded on an island, the one food I would want would be soup. I can eat it every day as long as it is homemade. I've never made celery soup, but I will now. Thank you for visiting me and leaving a comment.

Sue

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

This is dinner tonight! Thanks for the idea.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I love the pictures. It looks delicious!!!! You have a wonderful blog and catalog of recipes here!

Thanks for stopping by to say hello.

2sisters said...

Celery is something that always seems to go to waste at my house too. Thanks for the idea on how to use it. Thanks for stopping by our blog :)
teri @ acraftyclan.blogspot.com

Joan said...

Mary, I just found your blog, and I must say, I have found several recipes in your archives as well as today's soup that I must try. The Broccoli and Cheddar Soup sounds divine and the Pumpkin Roll Cake looks so very nice. I must make you a regular stop. Thanks so much for visiting me in the past, and I look forward to dropping by your blog every chance I get.

Kristen said...

I tend to let celery rot in my crisper. I buy it with good intentions, but don't use it. It is probably my worst offender. This looks like a tasty soup.

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

I don't like to waste a thing either. We both remember what it was like to be hungry when we were young, we are very careful that everything gets used up.
Such a glamorous and smooth soup, I love that you paired the celery with fennel.

Pam said...

Mmm. I've never had homemade celery soup. This looks so creamy and delicious Mary.

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

Celery is so under appreciated. I am so excited to see you've given it its own soup! And I envy you for conquering the waste debacle. It really is a hard one.

manker said...

absolutely perfect after a day on the range here in mt!!! Thanx :)
gp

girlichef said...

I really love the freshness of celery...but yup, it tends to get forgotten. What a delicious way to use it up :)

Lori E said...

Oh I try not to be wasteful but I never know who will be eating and when. Who will be in town or dropping in to clean out the fridge on their lunch break from work.
I do have celery and fennel in the fridge most of the time. What do I waste most? Cucumbers.

Lori said...

Mary I do not know if you already know this but if you wrap celery in paper towel and then in aluminum foil, it keeps a long time. Since its part of the food trinity I always have it. Since doing this little trick I find it stays around a lot longer.

the ungourmet said...

This soup is fantastic! I love the fennel and cider vinegar in the mix.
Good for you for finding ways to go green in your kitchen. :D

My Little Space said...

I'm facing the same problem most of the time too. Always tried to look for a way to clear them up! I guess you did make good used of them. By the way, Happy Halloween to you & your family. Have fun! Cheers.

Erica said...

Thank you for your sweet post on my Blog........I love soup of any kind. I will for sure make this soon, love your photography.

Erica@SweetonYou

xinex said...

Thanks for this wonderful recipe Mary. I have lots of celery right now so it's perfect.....Christine

Maria Berg said...

I had to google Botticelli, but now I know what it looks like - thank you for teaching med something new.

Yes it is/was the same here you buy thing but do not always use it and it goes bad.
Bur yesterday I did a "cleaning" of the refrigerator and took, broccoli pepper, rot selleri and carrot, chopped it in small pieces and had garlic in oil and put on the top and in the owen for 20-30 min and had dinner!!!

Maria Berg.
I have 3 dotters and the boy is from the neighborhood.

Kathleen said...

That looks delicious..I'd leave out the fennel, tastes like licorice which I don't like.
But I am sure it will be excellent without it too!
Looks so rich and creamy..

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

All of your recipes sound so yummy. Soup is perfect for the cooler fall weather!

Christi @ A Southern Life

Katy ~ said...

It has never occurred to me to make a celery soup but now I see your luscious and suave looking serving and I think, Why not?

Sara Chapman in Seattle, USA said...

This sounds really excellent. I have celery sitting there just calling out for this. Thanks!

Jenn/CinnamonQuill said...

This was so delicious! I used a bit less water, and 2 potatoes, but it turned out splendidly. It was incredibly creamy and rich, and I didn't even add the cream. This will be made many times over this winter. :)

Lori E said...

Well I tried to be good this afternoon, Mary, and use up the celery but something is wrong with my fridge all of a sudden and it was mostly frozen. Some of my other stuff is too. I don't know what is wrong because nothing has changed. The fridge is not old so this had better be temporary.
So now my soup has no celery but I did add some carrots. I won't tell if you won't.

Anonymous said...

I have celery left over in my crisper too - that prompted a search for a recipe to use it up. The search has ended now with both hubby and I licking our bowls clean! This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious. Its a keeper, thanks for posting.

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