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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Cream of celery soup

Celery, onions & chicken broth before flour & cream are added
Good food is something many people take for granted, I am not one of those people.  They say to have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all - this does not hold true for good food.  I have mentioned before that I lived just outside of New York City for several years.  REALLY good food is available on almost any corner and if an establishment chooses to provide or produce poor quality food, they don't last long.  Having all this available within a 30 minute drive (sans traffic) in any direction was something that I took for granted.  What 'The City' has in great ready-to-eat or prepared food as well as the supply chain to support it, Northern Vermont has in its natural, local, quality ingredients.  A supply chain exists, but it is difficult to get a regular delivery of really fresh seafood to Burlington, let alone out to Newport or Island Pond.

One learns to preserve the fresh whenever possible and then hones the art of making what was once fresh come alive again in uncomplicated, deliciously prepared meals.  For me, one of the great things about being on the farm that much more is the opportunity to craft delicious home cooked meals.

A simple and flavorful cream of celery soup was to become the foundation of homemade chicken and biscuits this week.  Celery from the summer was taken from the freezer along with our neighbors onions which were chopped and frozen at the peak of freshness, and set in the skillet to soften.  Our own chicken broth was added, a touch of salt and pepper, a little flour and some cream from the farmer down the road to make a light, fresh, flavorful soup.  Some people puree carrots in their cream soups to add some additional flavor, but our broth is already packed with flavor from the chicken and the herbs it was cooked with.

To this yummy soup we added some frozen vegetables and left over, farm-raised roast chicken, and a quick batch of fresh biscuits.  It is a stick to your ribs kind of meal that is great for cold and snowy/rainy days.

The recipe I used for the soup:

4 cups chopped celery
1 extra large onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup flour
4 cups hot milk
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
     (I omitted this ingredient since I was adding the soup to chicken & biscuits)

Saute celery & onion in some of the chicken broth or a little butter to soften.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Whisk together flour, milk, salt & pepper, add to pot with the butter.
Boil for 10 minutes.

You can now either strain out the vegetables or run them through a blender or food processor to make a smoother soup.  Again, since it was going into another dish, I used it just the way it came off the stove.

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