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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.
Serves 6
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.



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