This simple celery leek soup is a variation of the classic potato leek soup. Topped with quick homemade Parmesan croutons, it makes a great weeknight meal.
This soup reflects a few of the lessons I’ve learned over the past year. For starters, it reminds me to appreciate simplicity. Humans have a knack for overcomplicating things, and for better or worse, we’ve had to learn to simplify our lives in some ways lately. A soup made of mostly celery, potatoes, and leeks is a good example of keeping things simple.
At the same time, it reminds me not to take anything for granted. You don’t know what you have until it’s no longer an option – whether that’s the opportunity to catch up with a friend over coffee or having your family over for dinner. That wilted bunch of celery in the back of my vegetable drawer? Those potatoes covered with eyes in my pantry? Yeah, I didn’t always appreciate them, either.
When I stare real deep into a bowl of this inviting spring-hued soup, I can see that it’s telling us that we don’t have to go back to normal. Leek and potato soup is an old classic, yet this soup adds celery for unexpected earthy freshness. It turns out that we can change our old ways to make something better.
Who knew soup had so much wisdom to impart? Unfortunately, the realist in me now has to share some hard truths.
a not so new, not so spring soup
There’s nothing particularly spring-like about this soup. Why? Because while everyone else seems to be embarking on their annual asparagus obsession, the snow has barely melted in Vermont. A few days of sun and above freezing temperatures, and everyone thinks it's summer. We know better. We know to keep cooking with the more reliable and practical vegetable, the potato. It never seems to go out of season.
The other thing to understand about this soup is that it is not new. It’s old. I adapted the recipe from Julia Child’s Masting the Art of French Cooking, published over 50 years ago. But eventually, everything old is new again—kind of like that 90s mom jeans fad being back in style. I don’t know anything about fashion; I just often pass a consignment clothing store on my way to work. But for what it’s worth, this soup may be a better fit than those jeans.
how to make celery leek soup
You start by sautéing leeks and celery in butter with a little fresh thyme. Few things are as comforting as the smell of leeks and garlic sizzling in a hot pot of butter. From there, you add the broth and potatoes and simmer.
Eventually, it’s pureed into a thick, creamy soup, otherwise known as a potage. Put that together with the French word, “celestine,” which means a thick, creamy, heavenly soup. It sounds a little lofty, perhaps, but now that I think about it, this soup is a bit like eating a big comforting cloud. If we eat all the clouds, it’ll be a sunny spring. I’m pretty sure how things work, but I could be wrong.Print