The first words I heard this morning were “… 2 inches of snow followed by sleet followed by freezing rain.”
A wintry mix. Again. We are only one boot into January and we’ve already been walloped with two blizzards and now rainwater is flooding icy sidewalks and curbsides. But I haven’t succumbed to the winter blues – yet. I mean, at least the weather outside is interesting even if it has been a bit frightful lately.
Last week my commute to work in the blizzard looked like this:
It’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it? A snowy gloaming that erases the true time of day. We had sugar-frosted trees for days before a deep freeze turned them to ice. Brittle branches shone like glass.
It’s when winter falls to a gray silence locked in perpetual waiting that I find the going tough. But those days haven’t come yet. Meanwhile, there are plenty of tracks for skiing and the sledding hill is launching thrill-seekers over 20 m.p.h.
In the pause between storms my friend Jessica came over for lunch. I served her celery pear soup and a warm Swiss chard salad dressed in a bacon vinaigrette with candied pecans and dried cranberries topped with a poached egg. It was kind of like landing in a nor’easter to pull this all together at once but I did it. I’ve been craving greens since the holiday rush ended. I discovered the salad at a new restaurant that opened in my neighborhood and the photo editor at work told me I needed to make this soup.
Somehow it breathes a gentleness that tempers the confusing edge of snow, ice, and sleet. Can celery soup whisper simplicity, inner calm? Yes. The quiet feels about right – just right. I love this celery soup recipe. It leaves you with no leftover celery to go limp in the crisper and the sweetness of the pear is a surprise taste at the end. Wait for it. You won’t be disappointed.
Celery pear soup
This could easily be served chilled as a summer soup. The original recipe is from epicurious.com
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
6 cups thinly celery with leaves, chopped leaves for garnish
2-3 unpeeled ripe, Bartlett pears, cored, diced (about 3 cups), 1/2 cup for garnish
1-1/2 cups dark green leek tops, chopped
3 small Turkish bay leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth, more to taste
Melt butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, pears, leek tops, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover; cook until celery softens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add flour and combine.
Stir in 3 cups of the chicken broth; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until celery is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove bay leaves. Pureé soup in batches in blender until smooth. I like to pass my pureé soups through a fine mesh strainer to catch the skins, but this isn’t necessary. Return to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the soup is thicker than you like, thin with additional broth. Heat through.
Divide soup among bowls and garnish with diced pear and celery leaves.