Potato-Celery Soup

September 11, 2001 will always be one of the worse days I've ever experienced. I remember exactly were I was, Hilton Head, S.C. I remember what I was wearing. And I remember what I cooked that day. As everyone else, I was looking for comfort, and nothing says comfort to be like potato soup. Take a minute today to remember all the people lost that day and all our hero's. Then take time to make a pot of potato soup to make you feel better.

There is a lot of celery here, and peeling it does make a difference. Just scrape along the outside of the stalks with a vegetable peeler to get rid of the strings.

Serves 6
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2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups peeled and diced celery (about 5 stalks)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2-3 cups milk or I use a mix of milk and cream
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, more if you like

Put the potatoes, onion, and celery in a soup pot. Add 2 to 3 cups cold water, enough to just cover the vegetables, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover partway, and reduce to a gentle boil. Cook until the potatoes are tender and beginning to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mash the potatoes in the pot with a hand masher. It's fine to leave the potatoes a bit coarse to give the soup a chunkier texture.

Return the soup to the heat and stir in enough milk/cream to reach a good pourable consistency. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and taste for sale and pepper. Ladle the soup into large soup bowls, and float slivers of butter on top of each serving.

A nice skillet of cornbread goes well with this.