Cream of Celery Soup
Originally, the older varieties of so-called 'dirty' celery from the flat, black-earthed Fenlands of East Anglia had a short season - from October to January. If you're lucky enough to find some to use in this soup, there is much washing to do, but the flavour is exceptional, particularly after a light frost, when it's sweetest of all.
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In a largish pan melt the butter over a low heat. Then chop the celery and add it to the pan with the potatoes and prepared leeks. Stir well, coating the vegetables with butter, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Then add the stock with the celery seeds and some salt.
Bring to simmering point, cover once more and cook very gently for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are really tender. Puree the soup by blending it in batches, then return to the pan, stirring in the cream and milk. Bring the soup back to the boil, check the seasoning, adding more salt and some pepper, if necessary. Then just before serving, chop the reserved celery leaves and stir them into the soup to give it extra colour.
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