It’s cold in Chicago now. Our beautiful days of sunshine and 70s are gone. It’s no longer easy, comfortable, or even possible to go outside without a coat. In my mind, we’ve officially entered Soup Season. Earlier this week, I made my Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, and it was good. Last night, I did a new one, and it was awesomely yummy and again perfectly healthy.
Interestingly, my Cream of Celery Soup doesn’t require any cream or milk. And since I was in the process of doing a 14 day gluten free challenge, I was happy to make this gluten free, too. Potato does an amazing job of making a beautiful thick texture and a creamy taste. I’ve used this technique before with my potato and corn chowder that has barely any milk in it. It feels wrong calling it “cream of” when there’s no cream or milk, but this is exactly what it tastes like.
And this soup was good. Even my husband who doesn’t like celery ate it, and Little Miss kept taking spoonfuls from my bowl after she finished hers. That’s a good sign, right?
Cream of Celery Soup
6 good size celery stalks (about a pound, but my digital scale broke, so I’m guesstimating)
1 medium baking potato
2 T oil or butter
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c dry wine
4 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock to make vegan)
1/2 t nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
Chop your celery into small pieces. I cut my stalks in half lengthwise (after washing them well) and then chopped them into 1/2 inch pieces or so. In a heavy soup pan, heat the oil (or butter). Add the celery and cook over medium low heat. Stir, then chop the onion after peeling it. The onion should be about the same size as the celery. Add the onion to the pot and continue to cook.
Cut the potato into similar small chunks. Personally, I like keeping the potato skin on, so I don’t peel it. If you feel differently, go ahead and peel it. You want these smaller than you normally would so that they cook more quickly in the soup.
Smash the garlic and remove the skins. Add the smashed garlic to the onions and celery and cook for a few more minutes, stirring periodically. You want to cook it until the onion is fairly translucent but before it truly caramelizes. At this point, add the wine, and cook it down until the wine has reduced by about half.
Add the potato after the wine has reduced, which will only take a few minutes. Then add the chicken stock – adding the potato first means you don’t get splashes of stock. I’m always thinking, and no, I didn’t learn that one the hard way, why? Add the nutmeg, and stir once.
Bring this to a boil (cover it to bring it to a boil more quickly, then remove the cover once it boils), then turn it down to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes when the potatoes are soft but not mushy.
Use your immersion blender – still my favorite kitchen gadget – to puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use your regular blender. You’ll puree it in batches. Don’t fill your blender more than one-third full of a hot liquid, and be sure to use a kitchen towel to hold the lid on. You don’t want the pressure from blending hot liquid to case the top to fly off and spray scalding liquid, so be careful (see, this is why I love my immersion blender – it reduces danger, and it’s useful).
Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately. This is fantastic, even for me who doesn’t like celery. It’s a light, fresh and slightly sweet flavor that is a perfect fall dinner. Because this is such a light soup, it may work better as part of a meal rather than the entire entree.