Waning warmth warrants more cold-weather fare

A reprieve from summerlike temperatures in the forecast convinced me to plant my yard in tender annuals over the weekend.

Clouds and the possibility of rain showers similarly foreshadow a reprieve from warm-weather cooking. I always lament the high-summer hiatus from hearty soups and stews. With at least one more chance to stash away another quart of soup for emergency meals, I’m seriously considering this take on cream of potato that, given the absence of dairy, would freeze beautifully.

Chock-full of flavorful celery leaves, this also would be a fitting end for the celery in my garden that’s bound to bolt once warmer weather resumes. From the Washington Post, it came in a collection of recipes that also included the pesto featured with my latest column in A la Carte. Look for locally grown celery, with its bounty of leaves, at farmers markets.     

Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post

Potato and Celery Soup

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup diced celery ribs, plus 2 cups loosely packed celery leaves ()

1 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes, such as Yellow Finn or Yukon Gold, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed

Heat a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and warm for a minute. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic and diced celery; cook for 2 minutes, then add the potatoes, remaining teaspoon salt and the pepper, stirring to incorporate. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep potatoes from sticking to bottom of pot.

Add 4 cups water; once it comes almost to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or just until potatoes have begun to break down and thicken soup but are still holding their shape. Stir in the celery leaves; cook for 5 minutes, then turn off heat.

Cover and let soup rest for 5 minutes before serving; taste, and add pepper as needed.

Makes 4 servings (about 6 cups).

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