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.
Ham bones or Gammon shank to make stock
2 heads of Celery
4/5 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 Vegetable stock cubes
Bunch of fresh Parsley
Freshly ground Black pepper
make the soup I use an 8 pint pan.
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.
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.)
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.
your half of Celeriac and cut into cubes. Add to the stock.
and roughly chop your garlic cloves. (You can use more
or less according to your tastes.) Add to the stock.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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