Celery, that light green vegetable popular in soups and salads, made its literary debut as early as Homer's Odyssey, where it is referred to as "celerin." While most historians believe it originated in the Mediterranean basin, it is also thought to have started in a variety of other countries including Sweden, the British Isles, India, Algeria, China, and New Zealand. Archeologists have even found remnants of it in Ancient Egyptian tombs.
Nutritionally, celery is rich with antioxidants, so it helps to prevent cancer and strengthen overall immunity. It offers a hefty supply of Vitamin K, which helps protect bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity. The thirst-quenching veggie also helps ward off Alzheimer's disease by limiting neuronal damage in the brain, and it is filled with other helpful minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium.
Here's a recipe for Chunky Celery Soup, which comes to us from 101cookbooks.com. When you're done cooking, wash up with Seventh Generation's hypoallergenic Free & Clear Hand Wash.
Chunky Celery 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
1/3 cup celery leaf pesto (optional)
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 ½ 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. Top each with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto (opt) and/or some Parmesan cheese.
Serves about 6.