Cream of Celery and Potato Soup

I love homemade soup. It is fast, easy, nutritious, and delicious, not to mention cheap.

I don't love how my children balk at being presented with any new food item, especially anything that contains the colour green. I WORK and I SLAVE, and for what?

Conversation with Jude at lunch today:

Jude: "What is this, Mommy?"
Me: "It's soup."
Jude: "What kind of soup?"
Me: "Cream of celery and potato soup."
Jude: "I don't like celery and potato soup anymore!"
Me: "How do you know? You haven't even tried it!"

Later, after he ate two bites of soup in order to earn half a piece of toast, and then sat and played with the soup for a while:

Jude: "I'm done. I want to get down."
Me: "Okay, Jude if you eat 5 more bites of soup, you can get down."
Jude: "Actually [this is a new word in his vocabulary, which sounds more like a nasally "ac-hee"] one, two, three bites" (holding up the appropriate number of fingers.)
Me: "No, Jude, actually five bites."
Jude: "Actually, four bites."
Me: "No, really, actually five bites."

He's quite the little negotiator. I don't know how he got onto that, since once we have set the bar, we rarely change it. Anyway. Things escalated, it turned into a not-so-pretty picture, but he did eventually eat the five bites and more.

Noah just needed to be convinced to eat the strange food by being force-fed (almost) a couple of bites, so he could decide it really wasn't that bad.

I, on the other hand, thought it was delicious. And a great way to use up the celery that was going brown in my crisper.

Cream Of Celery and Potato Soup

2 tbsp. butter*
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 med. onions, chopped
6 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)
3 cups whole milk*
4-6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 head celery, chopped (depending how much you like celery)
few sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. green peppercorns, crushed
1 cup whipping cream*

Heat the butter and olive oil in a saucepan until melted. Saute the onions until soft (about 10 minutes.) Add the stock, milk, potatoes, celery, and thyme. Cook gently until vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes.) Do not let the milk boil.** If using fresh thyme, remove it now. Blend with a hand-held immersion blender until partially smooth, or run about half of it through a blender in batches. (Leave chunks of celery, etc. This is just to thicken it up a little, and so the kids have less trouble eating it!) Add the salt, peppercorns, and whipping cream. Re-heat gently, and serve.

Makes about 12 cups.

*Dairy-Free Option: Substitute coconut oil for butter. Instead of using milk and cream, substitute two 400 ml cans of coconut milk. Dairy-Free option with dried thyme pictured.

**Heating milk past a certain point kills enzymes that are needed for absorption of calcium, as well as other parts of the digestive process. This is why pasteurization is so bad. (Boiling milk also changes the proteins which creates a scummy skin on the surface of the soup and can make it curdle.)

Before blending. This is the coconut-milk version with dried thyme.

Cream of Celery and Potato Soup with real bone broth. Make it with or without dairy.