The first signs of spring are here in LA: bulbs emerging from their winter’s sleep, the verdant green of the farmer’s market is expanding with fresh green garlic and green peas, fruit trees are flowering; but don’t blink, you may miss these first signs of spring which pass so quickly in this warm southern climate. Spring always arrives, no matter how harsh and unpredictable the winter prior has been. Cream of Celery Soup with Rice is built on all ingredients green, a Bijouxs to enjoy until spring arrives.
Cream of celery soup is probably best known out of a can, but wait until you experience your own handmade bowl made from ingredients fresh from the garden. This recipe is from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison, the former chef of the wonderful vegetarian restaurant Greens in San Francisco, and it makes use of one of my favorite ingredients lovage; an herb to love. This soup is satisfying and restorative served on the chilly days before spring truly arrives.
If you have not made soup from scratch here is a perfect recipe to make your entrer into soup making. You will make the stock base for the soup yourself, don’t worry, it’s just matter of simmering the trimmings from the vegetables that you will be using in the soup, very easy. One thing you will notice is how different a homemade soup tastes when you are not using any canned or prepared ingredients. The flavor of the vegetables is right up front and gone is that saltiness, which tends to build when using processed ingredients.
The ingredients for this soup are all basics, right there at the farmer’s market or the supermarket. The only exception is the herb lovage, which although I grow it in my garden it is dormant now, so I substitute celery leaves instead, not quite the same, but they will impart a clean edge to the soup. Just a little visual reminder that when using leeks to wash them thoroughly to remove any grit or dirt that is often hiding within the stalks.
I stay fairly true to the original recipe, the exceptions are that I choose to puree the entire batch of soup, and add just a teaspoon or so of cream to each bowl prior to serving. The soup has a creamy texture on it’s own, but I love this little touch of cream, and relish sitting down and stirring all the ingredients together, a warm creamy bowl of green comfort, handmade – a healthy little Bijouxs to enjoy until spring arrives.
As always, enjoy. B