6 November 2011

Cream of Celery Soup, using Fenland Celery

I have just finished the most delicious bowl of warming, but light, cream of celery soup.

I was determined to make the soup for lunch today and woke up full of good intentions which, for once, didn't get swallowed up by other things happening, or running out of time.

I was contacted recently and asked whether I would be interested in receiving a bunch of Fenland Celery to "play with" in the kitchen.  Of course, I said "yes please!", celery being one of my favourite veggies (oh yes, I know, they're all my favourites - I'm a bit like Bruce Forsyth where that's concerned).

I gather that Fenland Celery is one of the older types of celery, which has a relatively short season in that producers begin harvesting it in November and it is available in the shops through to December/January, depending on the harvest.  Apparently it is making something of a comeback in that you can find it in Waitrose this year.
I also gather, from the Love Celery website, that Celery is a good source of potassium that helps to control blood pressure and counteract the negative effects of too much salt on the diet. It also contains ‘3-n-butyl phthalide’ which helps to reduce blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and is one of the components that gives celery its characteristic smell and taste.  Who knew?

Sweating the celery, leek & potato - smelling gorgeous!
Something else that I absolutely love about Celery is that it takes more calories to eat a stick of celery than it contained to begin with.  Now there's not many veggies you can say that about!

I'd had sneaky taster of the raw product when it arrived.  Now ordinary old celery is a bit unpredictable where the finer points of its flavour are concerned.  They can be a bit hot and peppery, or sweet and juicy, there's no real way of telling which you've got.  Now this 'ere Fenland Celery is predictably (or so I'm told) sweet, delicately nutty and fresh flavoured.  My bunch certainly was!

Coincidentally, I'd been looking for celery soup in the shops for a while.  Why can't it be found any more?  It's completely bonkers!  What happened to Heinz Cream of Celery soup?  It's one of the flavours of my childhood and I can't believe it's not available any more.  Not only Heinz, but Campbells - they used to make a Condensed Cream of Celery soup that made a fabulous casserole base, much in the way we use Cream of Mushroom.  Can't find it now, though.  I just don't understand - although thinking on, it's taken me donkey's years to notice that it's not available any more, so I suppose I'm as responsible as anyone else for it's demise.
Couldn't you just tuck right in?

However, now I've worked out how to make a fabulous (and quick!) Cream of Celery Soup at home, I'm not so bothered about not being able to find it in the shops.  This one is going to appear on our lunch menu very often, I'm sure of that.

CREAM OF CELERY SOUP  (serves 3 as a lunch, or 4 as a starter)

Ingredients :

350g celery stalks, trimmed, de-stringed, sliced finely and leaves reserved
25g butter
110g potato, peeled and cut into small dice
2 medium leeks, trimmed & washed, sliced finely
570ml hot vegetable stock (I used Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon)
150ml double cream
150ml whole milk
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper (or white, if you've got it!).

Method :

1.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.  Add the celery, potatoes and leeks to the pan and stir well, ensuring the butter coats the vegetables.

2.  Cover the pan and cook gently - ensuring none of the vegetables brown - for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes begin to break up.

3.  Add the stock, some pepper and a tiny pinch of salt.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for some 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are really tender to the point of a knife.

4.  Blend the soup (I used a hand blender), then add the cream and milk and stir through.

5.  Re-heat the soup, but do not let it boil, and taste to check the seasoning.  It's probably best that you are accompanied at this point, so that your companion can stop you from eating the entire panful of soup.

6.  Serve, adding the celery leaves and a little pepper as garnish.  Delicious!

Inflammation Factor (approx) : +62 (21 per person)



  1. I have to say that this soup was easily the best homemade soup I've ever tasted. It was as light and creamy as it was flavoursome and heartwarming. Unlike most vegetable based soup it actually tasted of the vegetable too!

    Absolutely delicious.

  2. I ADORE Celery and especially Fenland Celery, as my grandmother came from the Fens and it was always on the Sunday tea table as well as in stews and soups. That soup looks fabulous and YES I could tuck right in!

  3. The former comment, up there, was from hubby (just in case anyone is in any doubt!). LOL I don't know why Blogger won't accept his avatar picture, but it won't!

    Karen : I said to hubby that it would be interesting to make the same soup with some of the "normal" celery available from A.N.Other supermarket, just to see what the difference is!

  4. I LOVE celery soup! Campbell's does still make their Cream of Celery, I use it often for cooking. So maybe your local stores just don't stock it anymore. I would LOVE to try this recipe...but what is "double cream"? Is that what we Americans call heavy cream?

    1. I've seen it in the shops, in the meantime! Tried a can, but it just isn't the same as it used to be. :( Yes, you've got it - double cream is the same as heavy cream, in the U.S. I do hope you like this recipe, Poisonesse, we absolutely loved it. :)


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