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Author Notes: I came up with this recipe when I had to make dinner one night with no bulk ingredients in the fridge except a bunch of celery. But it came out so good, I ate the whole batch all by myself! (I made about half this recipe.) Now I make it all the time. —Rebecca McLean
Serves 4 (or so)
- 1 bunch celery
- 2 tablespoons garlic
- 1 medium white or yellow onion
- to taste salt
- to taste fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 small potato
- 1/2 apple
- 2 bacon strips, cooked
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- as needed olive or canola oil for frying
- to taste salt
- to taste apple cider vinegar
- for the soup: Bring the chicken stock to a boil. While you wait for it to boil pull the stalks of celery apart and set the hearts aside for another use. If you like a little texture in your finished soup ( I sure do!) leave the celery as is; if you want a smoother finished product, peel it to get the strings off.
- Roughly chop the celery, garlic, and the onion, and put them in the stock. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 10-20 minute or until the celery is cooked through.
- While your waiting for the celery to cook, small dice (tiny!) the potato and apple, and finely chop the bacon. ( I just happened to have a little leftover bacon hanging out in the fridge and decided to throw it in; if you don't have pre-cooked bacon around, this soup is still delicious without it.)
- Warm some oil in a small frying pan and quickly sautee the bacon. This will get it crispy again, and flavor your cooking oil. with a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and put it in a bowl.
- Add the diced potato to the bacon oil and sautee until crispy and golden brown. With a slotted spoon, remove the potatos and add them to the bacon in the bowl. Using the same oil, saute the apple until tender and add them to the bowl, too. Keep that oil, you'll need it in a minute. Salt the bacon-potato-apple mix, and add a few dashes of vinegar until it has a bright, tangy flavor.
- In the same sautee pan, melt the butter with the remaining flavorful oil and add the bread crumbs. Stir continuously over med-high heat until the bread crumbs are toasted and brown. Dump them into another container and set them aside for a minute. (I usually have a large batch of these in a resealable container to use for topping pretty much anything, they keep really well.)
- By now the celery should be done, so use a hand blender to puree the vegetables and stock. Return it to the heat and add the milk, then salt and pepper to taste. If you didn't peel the celery this should be a mostly smooth mixture with a lot of small celery fibers in it.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and put a little pile of the potato-apple mix in the center of each one. If you don't use it all, store it separately from the soup so it doesn't get soggy and add it when you eat the rest of the soup. LTop that with a generous amount of the toasted bread crumbs and you have a killer celery soup. If you want to take it even further, a dollop of sour cream or some parmesan is a great addition.