Darlings! Did you ever go to your refrigerator and look inside and say: I've got no food! What will I have for dinner? Of course you have!
Recently La Diva found herself in a similar situation and with a few days left until pay day, I had to be creative if my poor sidekick DJ Nevah L8 was going to get any dinner! I've been happily getting an organic produce share every two weeks when I suddenly found myself with two huge bunches of celery! What to do with it all?
I must admit that besides using celery as a flavor base for stocks, risottos and casseroles, I find using large amounts of this vegetable alone to be quite challenging. And, honey, you can eat all the celery sticks you want but it's hard to go through two bunches of celery in a couple of weeks! So, again, what do do?
La Diva thought instantly of celery soup!
Blech! You say?! Well, darlings, I never made it before either but when it's all you have in the fridge, one must make do.
Besides, with so many people on tight budgets, you'll find this recipe to not only be incredibly satisfying but incredibly economical as well!
Here's what you do:
one bunch of celery, leaves and all, cut into large chunks
one vidalia onion, quartered
one carrot, peeled and sliced
two small red potatoes, peeled and quartered
Put into a roasting pan and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and mix up so all vegetables are well-coated. Then, lightly salt and roast in an oven preheated to 450. After about 15 or 20 minutes, take a metal spatula and turn over the vegetables. Continue cooking until sides are brown and veggies look caramelized. Try to only turn once or twice as the point is to get a nice brown crust on the vegetables.
This is what your veggies should look like! "Why bother roasting?" you say? Well, darlings, you COULD just dump the cut up veggies into a pot of water and boil them and then guess what? The soup will taste like you just cut up a bunch of veggies and put them in a pot to boil! By taking this extra step, the soup will be guaranteed a richer flavor as the veggie's natural sugars are released by the roasting!
In a pot, add six cups of vegetable or chicken stock along with the roasted vegetables. You can see how roasting the celery makes the broth a nice rich brown color.
Throw in a few bay leaves and a bit of fresh parsley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for about an hour or until the broth has reduced by a cup or two and looks rich and dark and the vegetables are soft and well-cooked. Taste broth and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
Now, remove the bay leaves and then put the entire contents of the pot into a blender.
PAY ATTENTION NOW, THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!
Take the inside part of the blender lid out so that steam will be allowed to escape through the top. Using a tea towel over the lid of the blender, puree the contents until smooth and well blended. If you put the lid on the blender without taking the middle bit out, pressure and steam will build up from the hot liquid and could/will explode on your face and neck and then second degree burns with a trip to the emergency room will ensue. So PLEASE pay attention to this very important step!
You should now have a very lovely puree of the roasted celery. As La Diva does not have a chinois, I use a finely meshed strainer to get the job done. (Darlings, you can click on ALL OF THE PHOTOS to see more closely!)
By pushing the soup through a strainer with the aid of a spoon, you'll get a very lovely, silken texture to your soup without any fibrous matter such as a stray celery string! Whatever puree does not go through the mesh, throw away or use in a casserole. These are the extra steps that one must take so the soup goes from ordinary to extraordinary!
For added flavor and creamy texture, La Diva adds a small can of milk right into the blender! (see how I'm putting it into the open top of the blender?) You can also use cream but I find it a bit too heavy and rich and after all, this is all about what's in the pantry, right? You can even omit the milk, the soup will still be divine! Serve it up with some crusty bread and dinner is served!
RESULT: Damn, I'm good. And so is this soup! Who would have thought you could get something so tasty out of a bit of celery and a few lowly root vegetables? The texture is JUST DIVINE, so silky, smooth and satisfying. And the caramelized vegetables really make the difference in taste. Easy and economical creamed roasted celery soup: a lovely little supper for a cool autumn night.
Ciao for now, darlings!! And if you are able, take a walk into the woods this weekend and breath the crisp clean air and enjoy the gorgeous fall colors! cooking class, cocktails, parties, cocktail party, Miami, coral gables, events, bartending class, cocktail class, Laura Lafata, Miami Beach, miami cooking classes, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, personal chef, corporate events, catering