Celery Bisque with Beer-Battered Celery Hearts

6

You may not consider celery to be anything special, but we disagree. This root vegetable, which tends to be in season until early winter, can be cooked, simmered, and pureed into a creamy, flavorful bisque. This recipe adds an unexpected twist with beer-battered celery hearts.

Soup

¼ cup butter

1 small onion, chopped

½ leek, white part only, cut in ¾-inch pieces

2 bunches celery, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

4 cups chicken stock

1 cinnamon stick

½ cup heavy cream

Freshly ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper


Crispy celery hearts

4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided

½ cup cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 ½ cups beer, preferably ale

18 celery hearts (the very center yellow sweet leaves of celery)

Salt



Soup

In a medium heavy-bottom pan, melt the butter and add the onions, leek, and celery; cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add the bay leaf and potato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and celery are soft.


Remove the cinnamon stick and in a food processor, puree the soup until it’s creamy and passes through a fine sieve. Return the soup to the pan and simmer, then add the cream and nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Portion into bowls and serve with crispy celery hearts.


Crispy celery hearts

Preheat vegetable oil on the stove (or in a fryer, if you have one) to 350°F.


In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder, and sieve. Add the beer and mix with a whisk until smooth.


In a small bowl, combine ½ cup flour and celery hearts and mix gently to coat. Dip each piece in the beer mixture and fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, remove from oil and place on a paper towel; season with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

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