Fenland Celery Soup with Apple
I was sent a rather fabulous head of fenland celery the other day and so it’s fairly inevitable I have ended up making Fenland Celery Soup. But this isn’t just any old Fenland Celery Soup, this one is Fenland Celery Soup with Apple – a classic pairing that REALLY works. Of course you do need Fenland Celery to make it. Any other celery just won’t work as well!
Disclaimer. My family lived in Norfolk for many years. For some time on the coast, latterly in a Fenland village;)
Now, while I am not an ‘organic or bust’ person, I DO like my vegetables to have earth on them. I know it’s silly and sentimental, but I like the idea they had a happy life in a field rather than being reared as test-tube vegetables (hydroponic), even though I know tests show we can’t tell the difference. Despite that, I am 100% sure if you tried this Fenland celery you would be able to taste the difference.
I started the week eating sticks of celery with strong cheddar for lunch. This stuff is nutty, almost aniseedy. The celery flavour is a lot stronger than I am used to and it paired really well with lumps of cheddar and a few oat biscuits. Later on this week I tried using it in a risotto. I didn’t plan on blogging it, if anyone really wants a recipe I’m happy to share, but it was left over pheasant, the carcass boiled up to make stock and the remains of meat used with some celery and some arborio rice garnished with a little parmesan. Real comfort food for winter. The cooked celery was a little milder but still strong enough to match the pheasant. And, it gave a lovely crunch to the risotto (not undercooked rice)
Finally, the remains of the celery. I had about half a head left, so I decided to try making an Apple and Celery Soup.
Here’s how I did it
The apple adds a really nice tang to the mixture while the potato gives body. You could also try adding cheese. I don’t find it needs any herbs or alliums, although if I was not using such a good head of celery I’d probably add half a leek at the start.
Makes enough for 3-4 servings. You can freeze what you don’t want to eat immediately or keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Delia has some great recipes for Fenland Celery Soup – which I suspect comes from the fact that she lives up in Norfolk (although not in the Fens). I tend not to follow her example of adding cheese, but I do like this particular recipe for Fenland Celery Soup, which includes leeks and potatoes to make a very creamy recipe. Her Fenland Celery Soup is made pretty by the addition of some celery leaves at the end – if you buy the trimmed sort you could always use a little parsley instead. And I really like her trick of using marigold bouillon, which is a great standby if you need stock (especially now Knorr seem to have discontinued their ‘touch of’ range).