Cream of Celery Soup and Deviled-Ham Toasts

Heads up: Save 3 to 4 cups of this soup, once it is prepared, for a casserole dish for later in the week. (You will still yield 4 to 6 servings for this meal on top of that.)
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 4 hr
  • Active: 2 hr 40 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings (plus 3 to 4 cups to reserve for Broccoli Casserole)
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Ingredients

Poached chicken stock:

2 full bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

2 carrots, coarsely chopped 

2 ribs celery 

1 onion, quartered, root end attached 

2 cloves garlic, crushed 

1 lemon, sliced 

Bundle of parsley, thyme, fresh bay leaf

A few black peppercorns 

Salt 

Soup:

1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons), diced

1 bunch organic celery with leafy tops, chopped (6 cups) 

2 onions, chopped 

4 cloves garlic, chopped 

Celery salt 

Black pepper 

1 large fresh bay leaf 

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed 

2 medium celery roots (celeriac), peeled and cubed 

6 cups chicken stock, homemade or store-bought 

2 cups heavy whipping cream 

Deviled-Ham Toasts, recipe follows

Deviled-Ham Toasts

1/2 pound prosciutto cotto or boiled ham, coarsely chopped

2 small ribs celery from the heart of the stalk, with leafy tops, coarsely chopped 

1 Fresno chile pepper, coarsely chopped (seed it if you don't want it to be too spicy; I leave the seeds in) 

1/2 small red onion, coarsely chopped 

A small handful flat-leaf parsley leaves 

2 small cloves garlic, grated or pasted 

3 tablespoons yellow mustard, such as French's 

2 rounded tablespoons pickle relish 

2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Frank's Red Hot 

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 

Rachael Ray brand Everyday Seasoning 24/7 or coarse black pepper, to taste 

Toasted white bread or lower-sodium saltines

Directions

  1. For the poached chicken stock: Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, lemon, herb bundle, peppercorns and salt in a pot, cover with water and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 1 hour minimum. Cool the chicken in the broth. Remove the chicken and cool. Separate the meat and pull or chop into bite-size pieces. Reserve for another use. The chicken can be stored in plastic bag in the fridge for 4 days. Strain the stock and reserve for soup.
  2. For the soup: Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and when it begins to foam, add the celery, onions and garlic; season with celery salt and pepper. Add the fresh bay leaf to the pot, partially cover, and cook until very tender and soft, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the potatoes, celeriac and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low rolling boil and simmer, partially covered, for another 20 minutes, then puree with an immersion blender. Cool the soup and store for a make-ahead meal.
  4. Place the soup in a stockpot and stir in the cream. Bring to simmer and taste to adjust seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls with Deviled-Ham Toasts alongside.

Deviled-Ham Toasts

Yield: 2 cups
  1. Combine the prosciutto, celery, Fresno chile pepper, red onion, parsley, garlic, mustard, pickle relish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning in a food processor and pulse until it's very, very finely chopped and well combined, almost smooth. Deviled ham stores well in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. Spread deviled ham on the toast and cut into toast points, corner to corner, or serve with saltines.

Cook’s Note

Deviled ham is delicious as a spread on saltines or other crackers. It's delicious spread on toast as a snack or a light lunch, with a salad on the side. It's also a really nice brunch item. Sometimes I also use steamed asparagus tips and I'll do a layer of deviled ham, a layer of steamed asparagus tips, and a layer of cheese. Sometimes I've even used it to make a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame. I'll take a little thin layer of deviled ham on white toast, top it with bechamel and Gruyere and bake that and top it with an egg. It's all good. You could substitute 1/2 pound of leftover white-meat chicken as well, or deli-sliced chicken breast, to make Deviled Chicken.

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