Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seeking Celery

Finally. The weather is matching the food that is available and I was so excited to make and eat some soup using delicious Western Pennsylvania produce. I noticed, though, that all of the recipes that looked good to me included celery as an ingredient. I had been wondering when I would see celery at the Farmer's Market or in our CSA and now that the CSA is over and we have only one market left, I am still wondering about that celery.

I do recall in Rick Sebak's presentation about markets that there is a celery only farm that sells at the Lancaster's Central Market called Hodecker's Celery Farm. But that is a bit far to go and I don't see their celery available here. It turns out celery is a very finicky vegetable to grow requiring lots and lots of moisture.

One farmer told me that he tried it, but thought it did better in swampy places like Florida. Mildred's Daughters Urban Farm does grow it, but they only sell their produce to their CSA and their celery is done now anyway. Bluebird Organic Farm (at the East Liberty Farmer's Market) sells it, but honestly, it was too floppy for me to be interested. I mean, I don't mind if it's a different color, but celery has to be cruncy. Right? So, I bought some organic celery at the East End Co-Op and made this delicious soup with lots of other Western PA products.

Potato, Leek, and Chicken Chowder
2 TBS butter
1 Cup Leeks

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add leeks, Saute until tender.

3 Cups peeled potatoes
2.5 Cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 Cup celery with leaves, chopped
3/4 Cup carrots, diced
1/4 tsp. dried Marjoram
1/4 tsp. paprika

Add, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Puree somewhat with an immersion blender (or remove some to a blender to puree).

1.5 Cups chopped, cooked chicken

Add to soup.

1 3/4 Cup milk
1/4 C Heavy Cream
3 Tablespoons flour
Mix together until smooth. Add to soup and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Deeee-licious. This recipe comes from Simply in Season with a few variations.


Anonymous said...

I can sometimes find local celery root at the co-op. All the tast of celery with none of the stringiness. You can substitute it for celery although you have to cut it smaller because it takes longer to cook.

sheryl said...

Bluebird's celery is extremely floppy (especially after a couple days in the fridge) but the taste is really remarkable. I got some a couple times during the late summer and chopped it up to freeze for soups and stews. (if you're cooking it down in a soup it's okay for it to be floppy, right?)
I wouldn't use it for appetizers though.