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Celery Soup

RECIPE

Celery soup is full of memories . . . and this version is a great winter comfort food.

I first remember having Celery soup when I was ten or eleven years old, and that was in a monastery in Avignon (France). It was a school trip that took place each year and that year I had convinced my parents to fork out the necessary money for me to go.

I have few memories of the trip as it is now so long ago. I remember the overnight train journey from Paris to Avignon, with six bunks to a compartment, as we lost several pillows out of the window whilst having a pillow fight! I also remember the French loos . . . the famous porcelain holes in the floor which were highly disturbing to a young schoolboy!

But it is the Celery soup I remember most clearly. I should do as we had it for lunch and dinner, every day for ten days. My first reaction to it was a good old schoolboy “Yuk” but after a couple of days it became quite addictive and I grew to love the taste. This recipe is not that soup from all those years ago, which was a clear soup, but the taste is just as good.

Celery Soup

Ingredients

Ham bones or Gammon shank to make stock
2 heads of Celery
1/2 Celeriac
4/5 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 Vegetable stock cubes
Bunch of fresh Parsley
Freshly ground Black pepper
Water

Method

  • Head of Celery
    Celeriac
    Celeriac
    To make the soup I use an 8 pint pan.

  • For the stock put your ham bones or Gammon shank in the pan and fill with water until about an inch from the top. Bring to the boil and simmer for two hours.

  • Remove the bones and any meat from the stock. (Drain through a sieve if necessary to get rid of any bits.) Taste the stock to see how salty it is. (Some ham bones will make a quite salty stock. This is not a problem but will be something to bear in mind at a later stage.)

  • These days Celery from the supermarket will have been cleaned and had its top leaves removed so just remove the ends of the celery head and then chop into pieces, including the leaves from the celery heart. Add to the stock.

  • Peel your half of Celeriac and cut into cubes. Add to the stock.

  • Peel and roughly chop your garlic cloves. (You can use more or less according to your tastes.) Add to the stock.

  • Check the level of your stock and if need be add water to bring the level back to one inch form the top of your pan. Bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for an hour or two.

  • Taste the soup to see how salty it is. At this stage you add one or two vegetable stock cubes (I prefer Knorr). I use the stock cubes both to enhance the flavour but also to season the soups as stock cubes are quite salty which is why you should add one at a time and, when dissolved, taste to see if a second is required.

  • Finely chop your Parsley (plenty of it) and add to pan. Add a generous few twists of freshly ground black pepper. Continue to simmer for a further two or three minutes and then remove from the heat.

  • Finally liquidise your soup either in a liquidiser (will need to do in batches) or with a hand-held liquidiser so that a smooth consistency is achieved.

  • Serve immediately or leave to cool and store in the fridge and reheat as required. If not using all at once only reheat the amount you need each time and not the whole pan of soup.

Serves 8

Making anything like this does not require you to use precise amounts so do not worry too much about weighing or the size of the ingredients. If your Celeriac is big half will do but if small then use the whole thing. The Celeriac, as well as adding flavour, helps to thicken the soup when you liquidise it.

If using a Gammon shank to make your stock there should be plenty of meat on the bone so don't throe it out as you can enjoy the meat cold in a sandwich.

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