January 18, 2011

Creamless Celery Soup with Rosemary

I usually kill rosemary plants when I try to overwinter them and have in past few years chosen not to fight it and treat the plant in the garden like an annual.  I do try and remember to dry a big bunch so that it doesn't go to waste so I was all ready for this month's Spice Rack Challenge from Mother's Kitchen.

The weather combined with going lower carb and wheat free has me craving soup.  In addition, the local chickens at our co-op Oryana are HUGE, +7lbs!! and I have been butchering the whole birds I buy myself to make them stretch into at least three meals.  This creates a lot of chicken carcasses that are helping me replenish my freezer stash of stock.

Celery soup with rosemary seemed a great pair since celery is a vegetable that has an assertive enough flavor to stand up to the resinous quality of rosemary.  No real cow's milk cream in our house right now so I "creamed" my soup with celeriac, the tasty root version of celery.  I thought it was fantastic and John (a noted celery hater) liked it a lot, which must be due to the Mediterranean influence of the rosemary.  Penny liked it as well but Alex was on the fence.  He's getting to be quite the picky one lately.

Creamless Celery Soup with Rosemary
Makes 4-6 servings

1 large leek
1 large celery root (celeriac)
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
6-8 cups good stock (chicken or vegetable)
6 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
salt and pepper (white pepper preferably) 

-Remove the greens from the leeks and save for stock making.  Dice the leeks and rinse and drain.  If the leek is especially sandy then repeat the rinsing a few times.  Peel and slice the garlic.  Peel and dice the celeriac into 1/2 inch cubes.
-Cook the leek, garlic and celeriac in the olive oil along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the rosemary over medium heat in a medium soup pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the leeks are limp.
-Add 6 cups of the stock to the vegetables and bring to a strong simmer.  Simmer for around 20 minutes until the celery root is cooked through.
-Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  Use caution when pureeing hot liquids, this will probably need to be done in at least two batches.  If you own a immersion blender, you can puree the soup in the pot. 
-Return the soup to the pot and add the chopped celery and celery leaves.   Add more stock if needed to get your desired thickness.   Bring to a simmer and cook for around 10 minutes until the celery is tender. 
-Crumble the final 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary into the soup and check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper as needed.  Serve hot.

Anyone else notice that there have been way too many dog pictures here lately?
Abbie is on house arrest after disappearing for 10 days before Thanksgiving.  We were sure she had been gobbled up by a coyote!  So far she hasn't protested too much but will probably give us trouble when the snow is gone.