Celery Soup and Peasant Bread

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Celery Soup and Peasant Bread

Cold weather in the winter brings the thoughts of warm soups as a wonderful, delicious comfort food. This past summer, I found that I enjoyed bread and soup as well. I have concluded that bread and soup are comfort foods any time of year. What I have found is this, depending on the weather, you can eat inside or outside. Eating inside on a cold, snowy day is just as wonderful as eating outside on a warm summer evening and watching the sun set. 

I grew up with a lot of canned soups so making soups from scratch has been a learning journey for me. A journey that I have enjoyed every step of the way. The soup I want to share today is one that has become one of my favorites. I’ve eaten this soup in warm and cold weather and it’s delightful. It is celery soup. You may be thinking, enough reading here…but try it. This is not like the cream of celery in the can. Celery has so many nutrition properties that celery will take on a whole new priority than just dipped with dipped and filled with peanut butter. 

Celery can be grown in the lower 48 states. Celery is anti-inflammatory and rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, aids in weight loss, aids in digestion and helps to lower cholesterol. Eat celery in moderation along with a well-balanced diet. This is a delicious soup that warms you inside and leaves you wanting more. The secret to this soup is the Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix.

Celery Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced small
  • 1 large bunch of celery, sliced in ½ inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half or milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry ranch seasoning mix or to taste (recipe below)
  • Garlic salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Sauté onion in 2 T. of butter and 2 T. of olive oil for 2-4 minutes until onion is translucent.
  2. Add the celery and continue to sauté until celery has softened.
  3. Add broth and ranch seasoning mix to the pot and then increase the heat to medium high.
  4. Once the celery is tender, use an immersion blender to blend until silky smooth.
  5. Stir in milk. Keep soup on low and when soup is heated throughout, soup is ready. 

Dry Ranch Seasoning:

  • 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix the above ingredients together and store in a glass container.  NOTE: use 1 ½ Tablespoons Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix as a substitute for a 1-ounch store-bought packet in recipes calling for dry ranch seasoning.

Bread is delicious and just as you wouldn’t wear the same shoes every day, the varieties of bread are endless to pair and compliment a meal or as a partner with fruit and cheese. This Peasant Bread is one of my favorites and has the flexibility to create custom and one-of-a-kind loaves with flour blends and additions of different nuts, fruits, and flavorings with herbs and spices. It is called a peasant bread because we are using whole grains and baking in a round.  If you are new to baking round loaves, give this a try.

This Peasant bread is a perfect complement to celery soup. A light and soft texture inside with a flavorful and no too firm crust. This bread is perfect to add butter, jam or honey or to dip the bread in the soup. I added sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and a quarter cup of cooked whole grains that included teff, amaranth, quinoa, and millet to my loaf. Packed full of protein and nutrition, this bread will become one of your favorites in your tool box of breads. This bread does have a list of ingredients and takes about 2 hours to make, but the end result is a delicious, moist and packed full of nutrition bread. All of the ingredients for this bread can be found at Kitchen Kneads. The store has a huge variety of flours and grains to open up a whole new world of bread baking.

Peasant Bread

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup stoneground white, yellow, or speckled grits
  • 1 ½ teaspoons real salt
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon SAF instant yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour (I used an organic malted wheat flour)
  • ¼ cup rye flour
  • 2-4 tablespoons raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 ¼ to 2 1/3 flour (I use a blend of artisan flour, bread flour, spelt flour, malted wheat flour, and semolina flour)
  • 1 egg white beaten
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 teaspoon each: poppy seed, chia seed, sesame seed
  • OPTIONAL: 2 additional tablespoons of raw sunflower seeds, ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup-soaked cracked multigrain blend, ¼ cup ancient grain blend (see information on no knead rustic French blend), ¼ cup dried fruit

Instructions:

  1. Stir together – water, grits, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer stirring constantly until thickened, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat and add oil and honey.  Stir until combined.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a mixer, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the cornmeal mixer into the yeast and warm water mixture. Add the whole wheat flour and rye flour.  Mix on medium speed using a dough attachment for 2 minutes.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the sunflower seeds and any other add ins.
  5. Gradually begin to add flour until the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic and the gluten has developed. 
  6. Put a small drop of oil on hand, shape the dough into a ball.
  7. Coat the inside of a Zavor or another multi cooker device and coat the inside with a light layer of non-stick cooking spray. Place the dough in the pot and make sure the entire ball of dough has been coated with oil or non-stick cooking spray.  Lock the lid; turn the pressure to sealing.  Press YOGURT less and let the dough rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
  8. Punch down the dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Wah and dry the inner pot of Zavor.  Center and fit a full-size piece of parchment paper into the inner pot.  Reshape the dough into a 6-inch round.  Place on parchment paper in the pot.  Return the inner pot to the Zavor.
  9. Lock the lid; turn pressure valve to sealing, press YOGURT less and let rise for 30 minutes.
  10. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place a 5-quart cast iron Dutch Oven with the cast iron lid on the middle rack of the oven and heat at least 30 minutes.
  11. When the dough has completed the 30-minute rising, combine the egg white and 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl. Gently brush the dough with the egg white mixture, and sprinkle with seed mixture.  Using a sharp knife, make 3 cuts in top of the loaf in a triangular pattern. 
  12. Lift out of the inner pot and place in the oven inside the Dutch oven.  Carefully cover with the hot lid, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Uncover, and bake 10 more minutes or until the bread is golden brown and temps at 190 degrees.  Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven and from the parchment paper, and place on a wire rack.  Cool completely before slicing. 

I challenge you to create your own Peasant Bread and enjoy your creation with the delicious Celery Soup.  Try soup and bead any time of year and discover a comfort food and hygge time that will warm your heart and soul.  This will become a family favorite of yours as well.

Sources:  Soup courtesy of Sue Asay, Bread – adapted from Peasant Bread by Instantly Delicious, Spruce Eats

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