We are very fortunate and grateful to live a 90 minute drive to downtown Chicago, where the shopping is amazing, restaurants and theatre are world class, and museums are some of the best in the United States. You are probably wondering how this relates to celery soup... I'll get to that in just a bit :)
Last weekend, since we had stayed overnight in Chicago for a wedding reception, my husband and I were able to attend the member's preview of the reinstallation of Marc Chagalls' America Windows the next day.
The Art Institute removed Chagall's stained glass windows during construction of the new Modern Wing. The windows were examined and restored during their five year absence. They were painstakingly cleaned with Q-tips and baby shampoo to remove the clouded layer of grime and dust that formed on them since their debut in 1977. They are beautiful again and they are installed so that the light shines through them gloriously.
Afterward, we had a late lunch at the new restaurant in the Art Institute's Modern Wing called Terzo Piano. My husband ordered the soup du jour, which was cream of celery. He mentioned several times how good it was.
Since he enjoyed the soup so much and I had also just seen a delicious celery soup posted by La Table de Nana, which had caught my eye, I decided to make some myself yesterday. Since I had never made celery soup before I researched and compared several recipes. I decided on the one I will share with you. It turned out deliciously thick and creamy, even without the adding any cream! My husband said that this was even better than the soup he had a Terzo Piano.
I decided it would be fun to serve celery soup shots to my guests at Thanksgiving as an appetizer! You can find similar-sized glasses for sale here.
I think the addition of the celery root is essential to this recipe. It really adds a depth of celery flavor!
Creamy Celery Soup
Adapted from this recipe on Epicurious from Bon Appétit
Serves 6 (generously)
Note: The original recipe calls for sautéing the vegetables in butter. I used olive oil instead. I also didn't find the need to add cream to the soup as stated in the original recipe because it was creamy enough on its own after puréed. You could also make this using vegetable stock rather than chicken stock making it completely vegetarian. Made just as the recipe states, you will enjoy a delicious, celery flavor!
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups chopped celery
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1-pound celery root, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 10-ounce russet potato, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
4-6 cups of low sodium chicken stock
1-2 teaspoons of salt
1/2 teaspoon or more of pepper (we like lots of pepper)
In heavy, large saucepan or stockpot add the olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the chopped celery and onions and cover and cook until very tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Stir in the pieces of celery root, potato, garlic, celery salt. Add enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables. Cover and simmer until all the vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes. Purée in blender in batches, or, as I did, use an immersion blender right in the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Thin with more chicken stock, if necessary. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Serve with chopped celery leaves as a garnish.