When my daughters and I were visiting my mom in California a couple weeks ago, we knew soups of all kind would be on the menu, as soup is probably my mom’s favorite meal. My favorite that we made was this delicious, creamy, and low-calorie celery and blue cheese soup with little pumpernickel croutons.
This is definitely going to be a staple in my soup file. Not only do I love celery but I will try anything that involves blue cheese, and especially award-winning Point Reyes Blue Cheese made right in my mom’s hometown.
We didn’t just have the soup, but had to add more small slices of the pumpernickel with more blue cheese. Did I say we loved blue cheese?
But here was the best part of enjoying the soup- there was a show to watch right outside the window. We saw a group of wild turkeys that my mom said are always hanging around. It seems they have a buddy who hangs out with them, a peacock. They seem to get along fine, that is, until the turkey decides to spread his feathers. Well! You can only imagine what the peacock thinks of that! It was actually comical to watch. The peacock looked at the turkey as if to say, “Really… you call those feathers?” Then he strutted over close to the turkey, dramatically opened his glorious plume of magnificent feathers, stood there a moment for effect, then proceeded to turn around in a circle several times like a pompous peacock. Oh, right. That’s where the saying comes from. We saw why first-hand. The poor turkey pulled his feathers in and he slinked away literally with his head down. Poor guy. And he gets eaten to boot. Who dares to eat a peacock? How about if we just eat the soup instead.
- 2 ounces pumpernickel bread slices, cut into ½" cubes
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 3 cups chopped celery
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 Tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- 1-1/2 to 2 ounces blue cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper, and salt, to taste
- Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place pumpernickel cubes on a baking sheet in a single layer; bake about 20 minutes or until crispy. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add celery and onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, ground red pepper, and ¼ cup water until smooth. Strain into celery mixture using a fine mesh strainer. Cover and simmer for another 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- With a slotted spoon, remove about half of the solids from the pan and transfer to blender or food processor. Puree until smooth and return to saucepan; heat until very hot.
- In a small bowl, mash together parsley, blue cheese, and a little of the soup mixture to make a smooth cream. Remove soup from heat and whisk in the cheese mixture until well blended. Taste for pepper and salt. Serve immediately topped with the pumpernickel croutons.
- Note: If you want an even creamier soup, you can stir in ¼ cup of heavy cream or half-and-half with the cheese. Fat-free half-and-half even works!
Yeah, yeah… I’m leaving… Don’t get your feathers ruffled…