Monday, 11 March 2013

Celery Soup with Stilton and Croutons

Cream of Celery Soup with parsley, croutons and crumbled Stilton cheese.

It's bitterly cold in London (and the rest of England) this week.  Soup is the perfect warmer.  When Hubby and I are at home for lunch (about once a week), I often make soup.
This time I decided to make celery soup, loosely based on a recipe by Delia Smith.  It is fairly quick to make and uses up things found in the fridge. It can be a bit bland, so I decided to liven it up with a few garnishes. The first one was inspired by 'The Barefoot Contessa's' oven croutons. I used two slices of  a big round of French crusty bread and it made delicious croutons.  There was also a piece of Stilton in the fridge so I used that too. A final garnish of parsley gave it a bit of colour.

A garnish of home made oven croutons and crumbled Stilton cheese.

1 oz butter (about a walnut sized piece) and about 1 Tablespoon olive oil
6  stalks of celery, chopped
Celery leaves
1 medium onion
1 medium potato
Salt and pepper
1 pint (2 1/2 cups) water 
1 vegetable stock cube
5 oz single cream
5 oz milk
A little freshly grated nutmeg
Croutons (optional)
Crumbled Stilton or blue cheese (optional)

Gently melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan.
Add the chopped vegetables and sweat them, covered, for about 15 minutes.
Add the celery leaves, seasoning, water and stock cube.
Bring to a boil then turn the heat right down and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes.
Using a stick blender (mouli) or a potato masher, puree the vegetables.
Add the cream and milk and reheat gently.
Serve with croutons and crumbled Stilton if desired and garnish with a little chopped parsley.

Home made croutons:
Cut up two generous slices of crusty bread into cubes and put them in a bowl.
Sprinkle over 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and some seasoning.  
(I used ground pepper and 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning.)
Place on a baking sheet in a hot oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  
Keep your eye on them as you do  not want them to burn.
Sprinkle them over the soup just before serving so they stay crisp.  The contrast with the creamy soup is wonderful.

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