As promised we are working on new posts for the new year more often. I hope you are still feeling motivated to keep healthy. I am not sure why we decide to start eating healthier in January since the fresh produce is so limited. But there are some vegetables that are full of vitamins and are available. For example celery. There is not much we cook with celery, its mostly used as garnish or crudités, but I recently found this soup recipe and gave it a go. It is fairly inexpensive vegetable and the whole soup will not cost you much and the quantities will feed at least 6 people. Or you can have it for lunch the next day, possibly freeze for another day.
The celery retains its crisp flavour as it is cooked just till tender and very few ingredients added to make this fairly simple soup. The colour is pretty green, but I wished for more vivid colour.
You job will be considerably easier if you have a large blender, or the lucky ones out there with Vitamix, it will do the job for you. My tiny little Magimix takes 2 ladles at the time. I had to strain it to get rid of the stringy bits, but again, if you have more powerful blender it might not be necessary.
Poaching an egg is another mission for me. I suck at poaching eggs, unless I cheat and use one of those plastic cups. I guess practice makes perfect and I will get there eventually. The one I made for the soup was not the best looking but the yolk was runny and that all that matters. It oozes out when you cut into it and blends with the soup its quite delicious. I don't know how the chefs do it, they just plop the egg in the water without any thought and out comes the perfect round cooked egg. Mine normally looks like a jelly fish.
I served the soup wit a toasted slice of pain des amis, which was frozen after my visit to Paris. I honestly wish I could buy in Uk, the best bread I've ever had. But any good bread will do, sourdough or rye would be good substitutions.
This is how to make it:
This is how to make it:
1 tbsp sunflower or rapeseed oil (or any other, as long as it's not too fragrant)
1 onion chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped (add more if you're a garlic fan)
1 large potato peeled and diced
1litre chicken stock (or vegetable if you're vegetarian)
1kg celery, this around 1 bunch and a half. Trimmed and chopped, leaves reserved
1big bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley
150 ml double cream, add more or less according to your taste
Splash of white wine vinegar
Eggs- amount depending on the number of people you're feeding
Prepare all your ingredients, chop the vegetables and prepare chicken stock, I used organic cubes but fresh would be best.
Heat the oil in a large heavy based pan and add the onion and after a minute or so the garlic. Fry it gently for about 4 minutes, until softened. Add the diced potato and fry for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly. When it starts to brown add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minuts. The potato should be fairly soft at this stage, check with a knife.
Add the chopped celery, the pan will be quite full, bring to the boil again and simmer for about 7 minutes, until the celery softens too. Don't let it boil too much, just very gentle simmer!
Stir in the parsley, the leaves whole and simmer for 3 more minutes. Stir in the cream and let it warm through. Turn the heat off and let it cool slightly. I put it on the balcony to speed up the process.
Now pour it into the blender/ processor, stick blender, whatever you posses and blend until smooth. Strain the soup through a sieve, then return to the heat and season with salt and pepper.
For the poached eggs. Boil water in medium pan and add a splash of vinegar. Reduce the heat, the water should be at simmering stage. Crack the egg in small bowl or cup, one egg per cup. When the water is ready mix it with a spoon so it creates a vortex and pop the egg in the middle of it. Cook for about 4 minutes. You can do 2-3 eggs at a time. Take the eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
When ready to serve, finely chop the reserved celery leaves. Pop one egg into each bowl of soup, season with a pinch of celery salt and the celery leaves. Serve with crusty bread or a toast.