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Chunky Celery Soup with Leaf Pesto

I love Brady of BrannyBoilsOver. Last year, I participated in her charity fundraiser Souper Bowl  for the ASPCA. This year, she’s doing it again. I really didn’t need any advice on whether to participate or not, but I turned to the family expert for his educated opinion. 

I didn’t have to go far to ask. This is what it looks like when I’m in the kitchen cooking. Duke loves to sit in the kitchen with me. He’s three and I call him my Jamaica puppy. He’s an English Mastiff and such a sweet boy. He’s great with DJ. And I know you’re wondering – I trip on his paws about 5 times while I’m making dinner. Maybe he enjoys spending time with me – or just hopes that I’ll drop something on the floor. Of course, the decision was unanimous and so I bring you this wonderful, beautiful soup with a kick of fresh flavor from the celery pesto from my pet-friendly home to yours.

Brady, thank you so very much for this wonderful opportunity. 


For the soup:
1 large onion
1 large russet potato
3-4 small -medium carrots
10 medium-length stalks of celery, washed well
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
5 cups of lightly-flavored, great tasting, vegetable broth (or water)
2 cups cooked wild rice, brown rice, barley, or wheat berries
For the pesto:
1 cup lightly packed celery leaves
1 large clove of garlic
scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Puree all of these ingredients in a food processor for about 30 seconds.
1/3 cup celery leaf pesto (optional, but see head notes)
Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (optional)
Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into pieces that are about 1/2-inch or smaller. Do your best to cut everything roughly the same size, this will keep cooking time across the ingredients somewhat uniform. You should end up with about 2 1/2 cups of chopped celery.
In a large thick-bottomed soup pot over medium high heat combine the olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a few big pinches of salt. Sauté for about ten minutes or until the onions and celery soften a touch and expel some water. Stir in the garlic and add the stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the celery, carrot and potatoes are just cooked through – resist the urge to over cook them into mush. Stir in the rice a few minutes before the potatoes and carrot are cooked though. Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into soup bowls.
To make the celery pesto, combine celery leaves, garlic, and olive oil in food processor. Puree all of these ingredients for about 30 seconds.
Top each bowl with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto (opt) and/or some Parmesan cheese.

Source: 101cookbooks
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