Delia

Celery Soup with Cashel Blue Cheese

English Fenland growers have developed new varieties of celery that can be grown in summer, and also overcome the severities of a British winter by growing English varieties in the warm climate of Spain. This means extremely good celery is available practically all year round.


Serves 6

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Christmas

Celery Soup with Cashel Blue Cheese
Ingredients
 1 lb (450 g) celery (1 large head, trimmed weight)
 5 oz (150 g) blue cheese, rind removed and crumbled
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 1 potato (about 7 oz/200 g), peeled and diced
 1 small onion, finely chopped
 1 pint (570 ml) vegetable stock (click here for recipe)
 5 fl oz (150 ml) single cream
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
For the croutons:
 4 oz (110 g) thickly sliced white bread, crusts removed and cut into small cubes
 4 tablespoons walnut oil
Equipment

Method

First of all separate the stalks of celery from the base and trim, reserving the leaves for a garnish – the trimmed stalks should weigh 1 lb (450 g). Scrub them in cold water, drain them, then slice across into thinnish slices.

Now in a large saucepan melt the butter and stir in the celery, the chopped potato and the onion. Stir everything around to get a good coating of butter, then put a lid on the pan and, keeping the heat at minimum, allow the vegetables to sweat for 10 minutes to release their buttery juices.

Then uncover and pour in the stock and bring it up to simmering point.

Cover again and cook gently for 30 minutes: after that test that the vegetables are tender and, if not, re-cover and continue to cook until they are.

Next remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream, then liquidise the soup along with the crumbled cheese until it is quite smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pan and re-heat very gently (because the soup, at this stage, should not be boiled).

Taste and season with salt and pepper and serve the soup sprinkled with the chopped celery leaves and crisp croutons (made by heating the walnut oil in a large frying pan and frying the cubes of bread in it until golden brown).

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