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Silky Celery Soup

Berkshire Kitchen

Silky Celery Soup

by Jane Worthington-Roth

For many of us, food-related resolutions top the list each year. Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and staying away from processed food is a great way to start. Even with plant-based diets, however, you might not be making the best choices for food. Some of the worse culprits are foods we would never think about avoiding – those crispy sticks of celery that scoop up onion dip or peanut butter while offering a satisfying crunch. Yep – celery.

The Environmental Working Group - a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment publishes consumer guides. One of their best guides is the “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce.” All fruits and vegetables are not created equal – the EWG analyzed pesticides tests of 48 popular produce items and ranked them by the residual pesticides present when you purchase them at the store. The worse offenders have made it to a “Dirty DozenTM” list (shown below). These doesn’t mean that you should avoid these fruits and vegetables, but rather, whenever possible purchase organically grown produce for these twelve, as the traditionally grown items will be high in residual pesticides. Keep a copy of the list on your cellphone for easy reference when you shop!

On the flip side, the EWG also publishes a list of the “Clean FifteenTM” fruits and vegetables which have the lowest concentrations of residual pesticides. These are okay to purchase traditionally-grown, but it’s always best to buy seasonal, locally grown produce from farmers you know and trust.

Back to the humble celery… In the U.S. we usually eat celery raw, generally in salads or as part of a crudité platter. But if you’ve never had cooked celery, you’re in for a treat! This thick, delicious soup reminds me of potato leek soup and is a perfect way to begin an elegant meal.

Silky Celery Soup

This soup is simple to make, but you have to put in the time to de-string all of the celery ribs. If you leave any string behind your guests may think you’ve added some dental floss to the recipe!

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, halved lengthwise, washed, and thinly sliced
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 pounds organic celery – trimmed, de-stringed and sliced very thin
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup sour cream
¼ pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

1. Melt the butter and olive oil in a soup pot, add the leeks, onion and garlic and sauté on low heat, covered, until the vegetables are very soft. Be careful to not let them brown.

2. Add the celery to the pan, stir well and let them cook slowly, covered, for 5 minutes.

3. Add the stock, cover the pot and let it simmer for 40 minutes.

4. Take the pot off the heat and carefully purée with an immersion blender.

5. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and stir in 1 cup of sour cream. Top with some crumbled bacon or a little lemon olive oil to serve.

Dirty DozenTM - From the Environmental Working Group
Sweet Bell Peppers
Nectarines - Imported
Cherry Tomatoes
Snap Peas - Imported
In 2014, Hot Peppers and Kale/Collard Greens were added as part of a Dirty Dozen PlusTM list. With the recent interest in all-things-kale, it’s best to purchase organically grown.

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