There was a sign posted at the Los Angeles branch of D.C. Kitchen, a non-profit that employed at-risk adults to turn donated food into nutritious meals. It read: “People and food should not be wasted.” Words to live by, right?
Celery is one of those vegetables we tend to waste, or at least overlook. But fresh, organic, just-from-garden celery is a treasure. Strong, vibrant, it feels rejuvenating even as you eat it. If you have room for just a potted outdoor plant or two, do it, plant some celery.
This soup lets celery shine. Use the whole plant, leaves, root, stringy bits. The blender will smooth it all out, and cauliflower adds the creaminess.
4 tablespoons olive oil, or butter
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
6 cups chopped celery, including leaves and stem
2 cups chopped cauliflower
5 cups water, vegetable or chicken broth
1 dried bay leaf or 3 fresh bay leaves(remove before blending if dry)
1/2 cup finely chopped green celery leaves (add after cooking)
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley (add after cooking)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/2 c. parsley
1 T. good quality hot sauce or harissa
1/4 c. olive oil
Heat olive opil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and saute until soft. Add celery, cauliflower, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Stir well and saute until all the vegetables soften, about 20 minutes. You can turn heat to medium low, cover the pot, and let the vegetables sweat it out for a bit, too.
Add water or stock until it just barely covers the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook another 20 minutes. When you lift the lid, everything should be soft and fragrant.
Turn off the heat and add the finely chopped green celery leaves and parsley. Stir until just blended in. Then use a blender or immersion blender to puree the soup until very smooth.
Pour into the same (rinsed) pot. Taste for salt and pepper.
You can serve hot (do not bring to boil, just gently heat), or let cool, then chill in refrigerator and serve chilled.
To garnish, blend the parsley with 1/2 the oil and harissa/hot sauce with other half. Drizzle in..and eat!
This article was originally published on the Forward.