I have an odd relationship with celery. I’ve nothing against it, but then, I’m not that fond of it either. Ambivalent, you might say.
My Mum is quite partial to celery, and uses it a lot in her cooking, so there was always some in the fridge when I was growing up. There still is, usually, celery in my Mum’s fridge. I, on the other hand, rarely buy it.
Matters weren’t helped when a number of years ago I worked for an organisation with a staff canteen where almost every menu item featured celery somewhere in it. It became a running joke with the staff – we were waiting for the day we saw apple and celery crumble on the dessert counter! That never happened, but we were treated to celery curry (wrong), stir-fried celery (OK, as long as the celery was in a minority among the other vegetables), and at Christmas, celery stuffing (WTF?). The overexposure did nothing to increase my love of the vegetable.
Here in East Anglia, much is made of Fenland Celery. It has heritage! A proud history! An unsurpassed flavour! At least that’s what they tell me. I’ve never quite mustered the enthusiasm to really investigate.
Whenever celery appears in my veg box, as it does from time to time, I never really know what to do with it. A stick or two gets chopped fine and used up here and there, but most of it, tragically, ends up in the compost bin. Well, this time I was determined to use it!
DH is away on a business trip, which made things easier. He doesn’t like celery, and he doesn’t like soup, so this would have gone down like a lead balloon if I’d served it to him. As it was, I could cook it up for me and Kipper with impunity.
The soup didn’t come out quite as green as I’d hoped, but it was very tasty. There was a definite flavour of celery, which you’d expect, but the peas brought some sweetness and the potato gave a lovely smoothness to the texture. The goats cheese added a delicious creamy tang that really made the dish, especially with a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of freshly ground pepper. We had this with some toasted mini pitta breads and called it dinner. Yum.
This made 2-3 meal sized servings, or around 4 starter-size servings.
- 3 medium onions
- 5 sticks celery
- 1 medium-large potato (approx. 125g)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 150g peas (fresh or frozen)
- 3-4 tbsp creamy goats cheese
- Drizzle of olive oil, to serve
- Peel and dice the onions. Scrub and slice the celery. Peel and chop the potato.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, and salute the onion, celery and potato over a medium heat for around 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and starting to brown.
- Add the stock, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the peas to the soup, bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Use a blender to puree the soup until very smooth. Return to the pan and warm through.
- Serve, topped with a dollop of goats cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.