This is one recipe where there is no substitute for fresh herbs. Celery has such a mild flavor, that to really make it stand out it needs the tender leafy herbs to brighten the flavor and add a touch of freshness to the soup.
The soup makes a great base, so feel free to add other things to completely turn it into something different: add diced chicken, white beans, small pasta, other any other veggies you'd like.
Using a Dutch oven (an enameled cast iron pot with a lid) is a great choice for a soup like this. Because you need to cook the celery in a minimal amount of liquid until tender, the cast iron lid is perfect for sealing in all that moisture - which helps to cook the celery quicker.
Milk, cream or canned coconut milk can be used, whatever your dietary needs allow. For the fresh herbs, you don't need to chop them much - just remove the stems. The entire mixture will be going into the blender, so save yourself some work!
For a garnish that adds some texture and a bit more flavor, you can broil the celery tops and some gluten free pancetta (or bacon). Toss with a bit of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and broil until just starts to crisp.
|Cream of Celery|
- 4 Tbsp butter or margarine
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 bunch celery, chopped (reserve tops for garnish)
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 cups GF chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup whole milk or cream (or coconut milk)
- 1 cup mixed fresh herbs (2/3 Italian parsley, equal parts tarragon and dill)
- 3 slices GF pancetta, prosciutto, or bacon, chopped (for garnish, optional)
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté onions with butter and oil until tender.
- Add celery and stir until softened, about 8 minutes. Add bay leaf, broth, water and simmer for 20 minutes until celery is very tender.
- Remove the bay leaf, stir in the cream and herbs. Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
- For garnish, place chopped prosciutto and celery leaves on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Broil until lightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes, then divide among bowls.