Celery Soup

Although we have had a reprieve from the rains, the colder weather inspired a revisit to Nava Atlas' Vegetarian Soups for all Seasons, which inspired this adaptation:

14 large celery stalks (save about 1/4 cup celery leaves aside)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
2 tablespoons flour
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
water or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon each, basil, oregano and thyme
1/4 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon miso paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 to 1-1/2 cups unsweetened MimiCreme or soymilk, as needed
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Trim celery stalks and dice; divide 1/4 cup and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large soup pot. Add onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper; saute over medium heat until the onions are lightly golden. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to mix. Add the larger portion of celery, the potatoes and enough water or vegetable stock to cover. Bring just to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Chop celery leaves with fresh parsley and add to the pot along with the dried spices/herbs. Simmer over low heat for about 25 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat. With slotted spoon, transfer solid ingredients to blender and puree. Return to soup pot over very low heat. Add enough MimiCreme or soy milk to achieve a slightly thick consistency. In a small skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add reserved celery and sautee until golden. Add to soup and season with salt and pepper.

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