Celery Heart Veloute 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Dec 11, 2013

Simple ingredients, elegant results: Chef John Currence of the City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Miss., likes to serve this silky soup with a garnish of marinated jumbo-lump crabmeat.

He calls for a dark/rich chicken broth, which he makes with roasted chicken bones. That kind of broth makes a discernible difference here; if you need to buy a prepared chicken broth, seek out one made by a deli or butcher shop.

Make Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

8 - 10

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-10 servings; 10 1/2 cups

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups chopped celery hearts (from 2 or 3 celery bunches)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups homemade or store-bought rich chicken broth (see headnote)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper


Melt 8 tablespoons of the butter in a medium, heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour; cook, whisking almost constantly, for a few minutes to form a roux that becomes slightly darker in color and smells sweet. Remove from the heat to cool.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to coat. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the onions are translucent; reduce the heat to medium-low if the onions or butter start to pick up color. Stir in the celery, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until the celery is tender.

Add the white wine; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the wine has reduced by half. Add the broth, stirring to incorporate. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk 2 cups of liquid (if a few vegetables are in the liquid, that's okay) from the pot into the cooled roux, then return the entire roux mixture to the soup pot. Increase the heat to medium-high; once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes, stirring a few times. Discard the bay leaves.

Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree until smooth. (Alternatively, cool the soup, then puree in batches in a blender or food processor. Return to the pot to reheat over low heat once it's all pureed.)

Season with the salt and pepper. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups,” by John Currence (Andrews McMeel, 2013).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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