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.)]

Total Time:
5 hr 40 min
2 hr 40 min
1 hr 20 min
1 hr 40 min

4 to 6 servings

  • Poached chicken:
  • (The chicken meat will be reserved for another meal and the stock is for this soup recipe. If not preparing Broccoli Casserole, use 6 cups store-bought 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
  • 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 Broccoli Casserole preparation. The chicken can be stored in plastic bag in the fridge for 4 days. Strain the stock and reserve for soup.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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:
  • 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.

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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