Cream of Celery Soup with Rice

Adapted slightly from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison
Makes 4 to 6 servings

For the stock:
2 cups chopped leek greens and root
3 celery stalks, chopped, plus a handful of celery leaves
2 bay leaves
6 parsley stalks
kosher salt
1 1/2 quarts water

For the soup:
2 medium or 1 large leek, white part only cut into a small dice
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 cups celery, diced
1 tablespoon lovage leaves (or substitute celery leaves)
2 tablespoons butter
kosher salt
freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup cream or half and half
1 cup cooked white rice
1 teaspoons finely chopped lovage (or celery) leaves

First make the stock by washing the leeks thoroughly and chop. Wash the celery stalks and the leaves. Place all the stock ingredients in medium pot, cover the ingredients with the water, cover and bring to a boil over a medium high heat. When the stock comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes then strain to remove the vegetables from the stock.

While the stock is cooking, wash and chop all the vegetables for the soup. Melt the butter in a medium size pot, add the vegetables and a pinch of salt and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Add the strained stock, then bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes.

Allow the soup to cool for about 30 minutes, and puree with an immersion blender or blend in small batches in the blender until all the soup has been pureed. To serve the soup, warm the soup bowls and place a scoop of rice in each bowl, pour the soup around the rice. Drizzle the soup with a teaspoon of cream or half and half and garnish with the chopped fresh lovage (or celery) leaves.