Tana's Kitchen Secrets
by Tana Ramsay
Soups are immensely comforting, but can also be impressive at a dinner party (with the added bonus than you can make them in advance). For variety, try adding 1/2 - 1 teaspoon curry powder as you cook down the celery, or crumble a little stilton over the top.
Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
Can be made in advance to end of step 2
Suitable for freezing at end of step 2
• 7 tbsp butter
• 2 bunches of celery, trimmed, cut into 1 in pieces
• 5 cups chicken stock
• 3/4 cup walnuts
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
1. Gently melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the celery and its leaves. Allow to bubble, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, or until the celery is completely soft [see secret, below). Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat once more and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
2. Add the walnuts and cook for 4-5 minutes, then transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth. You may have to do this in batches as the blender should be no more than half full each time to avoid splashing; hold the lid on with a kitchen towel to protect your hands from the hot liquid.
3. Stir in the heavy cream and return the soup to a clean pan over medium heat until piping hot. Serve immediately.
The Secret Of Perfect Soup:
With this or any other soup, there is an easy—though often overlooked—way to make the flavors sing The key is patience When starting a soup base, either with the celery in this recipe or more usually with onions, carrots, and other aromatic roots, cook them gently in butter for a long time (about 20 minutes) to intensify their tastes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.