Trim and cut up a full head of céleri en branches. Cook the celery for 30 minutes in just enough lightly salted boiling water to cover it. Then take the celery out of the water using a slotted spoon and set it aside. In the boiling water, cook four or five small or medium potatoes that you've peeled and cut into slices or cubes.
Cream of celery soup with garlic croutons
When the potatoes are done, run them through a food mill (un moulin à légumes) to puree the flesh. Save the cooking liquid. Then run the cooked celery through the food mill too. The food mill is ideal for this job because it presses the tender flesh of the celery into a puree but traps the tough fibers of the celery ribs, which you can discard.
Celery soup, needs cream added
Combine the two purees, add some or all of the cooking liquid and maybe some chicken broth if you need it to get the soup to the right consistency. Season it with salt and pepper to your taste. Reheat.
While the celery and potatoes are cooking, or when the soup is done, make a batch of croutons. Cut up good bread, slightly stale if you have any, and toss the cubes of bread in melted butter or olive oil, the way you would toss a salad. You can add some minced or pressed garlic. Spread the buttered or oiled bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast them in a hot oven until they turn golden brown.
Take the hot soup and some heavy cream or crème fraîche to the table. After pouring and stirring some cream into the soup in your bowl, float croutons on op. This kind of soup makes a tasty, warming main course for lunch or dinner in wintertime. This recipe will easily serve four as a main course, or six or even eight as an appetizer.