Friday, March 9, 2012

Roasted Celery Soup

Celery roasted with a little fennel and garlic and then pureed with chicken broth and potatoes makes for a nice starter or light lunch.  A touch of half and half or  cream with a spritz of lemon finishes it off.

8 large celery stalks cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 bulb fresh fennel cut into 2 inch chunks
2 large whole garlic cloves
3 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 medium redskin potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1 1/2 inch dice
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream or half and half
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper for re seasoning if needed
Celery leaves and fennel fronds for a little garnish

Place the cut celery, fennel and cloves of garlic in a 9x13 inch roasting pan.  Add the salt, pepper and olive oil and toss to thoroughly coat everything.  Roast in a 350F oven for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the edges of the vegetables just begin to brown.
While the vegetables are cooking, cook the potatoes in the chicken broth until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Set the pan aside to cool a bit.
When the vegetables have finished roasting add them to the potatoes and broth.  Let everything cool a bit.
In a blender puree the soup in batches.  If you have a "liquefy" setting on your blender use that.  If you like you can strain the soup through a mesh strainer.  Once pureed, return the soup to the pot and bring up to the boil.  Stir in the half and half/cream and the lemon juice.  Re season if needed and garnish each bowl with celery leaves and fennel fronds if you like.
NOTE:  For a little more pronounced celery flavor add a pinch or two of celery seed or salt when re seasoning. 

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