2 tablespoons olive oil, or butter
1 onion, diced
4 fat garlic cloves, rough chopped
6 cups celery, sliced thin (about 1 ¼–1 ½ pounds) 1 extra-large head, save some leaves for garnish
2 cups potatoes sliced into ½ inch thick rounds (about ¾ lb. – 1 extra-large russet peeled, or use a few yukons, unpeeled.
4 cups veggie or chicken broth (or 4 cups water + 1 tablespoon “Better than Bouillon” Vegetable Base)
1 cup water
1 bay leaf (optional, remove before blending)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, start conservatively
¼ cup fresh dill
½ cup fresh parsley
Stir in: ½ cup of sour cream, plain yogurt, vegan sour cream, heavy cream or cashew cream.
Heat the oil in a big pot over medium high heat, and add the onion, stirring occasionally, letting the onions get golden, about 5 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, rough chop the garlic, celery and potatoes. When the onions are golden add the garlic and stir 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the celery, potatoes, broth, water, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and cayenne. The liquid should just cover the veggies. Cover, bring to a rolling boil, turn heat down and simmer gently until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
Turn heat off, remove bay leaf and add the fresh herbs and just wilt them (don’t cook herbs or you lose the vibrant color!)
Using an immersion blender blend until very silky smooth – OR if using a regular blender, let cool before blending in smaller batches. (If blending warm soup, fill blender no more than halfway full, cover tightly with a lid and kitchen towel, holding it down firmly, when you start the motor (on the lowest setting, working up gradually) to prevent a blender “explosion”).
Blend well, a full minute, until herbs are fully blended, creating a vibrant colored soup. For extra “green” color, add a handful of raw spinach if you like, or more fresh parsley. Place it back in the same pot over low heat. Stir in your choice of sour cream, or any of the other options.
***Gently heat, careful to not over simmer, or you may lose the lovely vibrant color.
To make the crispy celery leaves, heat a generous amount of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Wait until the oil is hot. Fry a “tester” celery leaf for 10-20 seconds on each side. Set on a paper towel. If it is crisp, continue. Adding a few at a time, not overly crowding. If not crisp, fry them a little longer. You want about 3-5 leaves per serving bowl. In the same oil, you could fry the nigella seeds until you just begin to hear popping. Turn heat off. Arrange the crispy celery leaves in a crescent shape. Spoon a little of the nigella seeds along with a little oil in the same shape. Sprinkle with hemp seeds if you like.