This soup is so simple and yet so good. I'm not a big fan of celery when it's eaten on its own, it reminds me too much of my dieting past, so when I buy it I usually look for other things to do with it, rather than just chop up and eat in salads. Cooked in soups and stews, I love it.
With this creation, the whole mixed peppercorns are actually blended into the soup after being cooked in it, rather than taken out (as is the case when used in a bouquet garni) - and they add a great kick to it. It makes it especially suited to these darker and wetter evenings (oh sorry, I just mean darker. I forget, I live in England - they've been wet all year!).
The potatoes make this soup extra filling, and also help with the creaminess. And the soya yogurt gives a nice tanginess but again, is used for adding a creamy flavour. This is blended in at the end, after cooking. If you don't have soya yogurt, you could try using vegan 'buttermilk' - in this case, add a half teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to 125ml of soya milk, mix well and leave for a couple of minutes until gloopy.
Regarding the number of servings you get from this recipe, well - it's using a pound and a half of spuds as well as a full head of celery. I'd say you'd very generously serve four to six people at least! But it seems I keep over-estimating - maybe because I don't eat such huge portions myself at once (I'm a 'little and often' sort of gal).
Have a look and see what you think if you plan to make. It all depends on if you're planning to eat as a main course, or as a starter, I suppose. And yes, it is gluten-free, too!
Creamed Celery & Peppercorn Soup
1½ lbs / 700g potato, peeled & diced into 1 inch cubes
1 full head of celery, washed and chopped (remove base but keep leaves)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
4¼ cups / 1 litre vegetable stock
1 teaspoon whole mixed peppercorns
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ cup / 125ml plain soya yogurt
½ tablespoon coconut oil (for frying)
1. Heat the coconut oil in a large stockpot and fry the onion for a few minutes to soften, then add the chopped celery, garlic, and diced potato.
2. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer, then add the bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Cook for about 15-20 minutes until the potato is thoroughly softened.
3. Transfer to a blender and blend everything, including the soya yogurt at the end. Serve with crusty bread or croutons.