When it's cold and rainy (a rare occasion here in Los Angeles) you have to take advantage of it and make yourself a good pot of soup!
Some of my most favorite soups can be found in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking Cookbooks, both volumes one and two. I haven't made one I didn't love. True to Julia's style, there are a few steps. They are not hard steps but are worth it.
Very much so.
I did one thing differently. I added dill. I didn't have fresh dill on hand so I used a pretty amazing spice blend by WildTree called Dill Dip Blend. It does make a fantastically addicting dip but is equally delicious as a seasoning.
Celery Soup with Potatoes, Leeks and Dill
Inspired by Julia Child
Celery and Leeks
3 cups sliced celery
2 Leeks, white parts only, sliced or 1 1/4 cups sliced onion
1/4 tsp salt
3 TB butter
4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
1/3 cup uncooked white rice
3 tsp WildTree Dill Dip Blend
3 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 cups water (important to measure this as it will be added to the soup)
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk, heated
1/8 tsp sugar (pinch)
Salt and Pepper to taste (white pepper is recommended)
In a heavy bottomed 3 quart pot, melt the butter and slowly cook the celery and leeks with a 1/4 tsp of salt, covered, until tender but not brown. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and Dill Dip Blend, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking, uncovered for 25 minutes.
While that's going on, boil the potatoes with 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp of salt. When tender, drain the cooking water into the celery and leeks. Puree the potatoes. I used a ricer and placed them back in the pan and whisked in the heated milk. If you're using a blender, beat along with 1 cup of the heated milk, place into the pan and add the remaining cup of milk.
Once the celery and leeks have cooked a bit, puree the mixture with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Add the potatoes and whisk everything together really well. Bring to a simmer and then beat in the pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When serving, add a dab of butter to each bowl. Blend the hot soup into the butter and top with croutons. Something about that dab of butter that adds a bit of richness. You can skip it if you choose, but treat yourself and give it a try it.