Necessity is the mother of invention, and desperation is useful too. The pandemic reduced my fresh produce supply to celery and sweet potatoes. What to do?
Undecided about which to make, I decided to combine the two recipes into one. The combination wasn’t promising, but I couldn’t face eating any more canned, frozen or dried foods. I wanted food that was comfortable and delicious.
I braised the celery in a little broth according to Sheila Lukins’ instructions. Then, I added the sweet potatoes and more broth, a twist on Mollie Katzen’s recipe, plus a little thyme and garlic. Double double, toil and trouble.
When the sweet potatoes were soft, I poured in a can of coconut milk plus some cashew cream, and then I puréed the soup with an immersion blender.
My children turned up their noses at the soup, which they prejudged, sadly. Their loss, poor dears. More for my husband and me. In fact, braised celery and sweet potato soup is fabulous. It’s a serendipitous combination that surprised me.
I’m guessing the secret is braising the celery (thanks, Sheila), which becomes an edgy-sweet compliment to the ho-hum sweet potatoes. Thyme and garlic also work well together in this creamy, sweet-savory soup.
Dairy-Free Cream of Sweet Potato and Celery Soup
Sweet potatoes and celery combine with coconut milk and cashew cream into a sweet-savory creamy soup.
- 1 tablespoon dairy-free butter
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 can coconut milk
- 3/4 cup cashew cream (see NOTE)
- Fresh herbs and chopped walnuts for garnish.
In a saucepan with a lid, melt the dairy-free butter.
Stir in the celery and chopped garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.
Add 1/4 cup of broth and 1/4 teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Cover, and cook for 8 minutes, until the celery is soft, and most of the liquid is gone.
Add the sweet potatoes, the rest of the broth, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt, bring to boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer.
Simmer for about 5-8 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Stir in the coconut milk and cashew cream, and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes, until the soup is warmed through.
Purée with an immersion blender, or use a regular blender to purée the soup.
Garnish with fresh herbs and chopped walnuts, and serve immediately.
Make coconut cream for this soup by blending 1 cup drained, soaked cashews (soak raw cashews in filtered water for at least 1 hour) with 1/2 cup filtered water in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until very thick and creamy. Makes about 3/4 cup of cashew cream.
Melt 1 tablespoon dairy-free butter in a large saucepan.
When the butter shimmers, it’s hot enough. Don’t let it get brown.
Stir in the onions and celery, and cook for a minute.
Add the broth, and bring to a boil
Turn down the heat and simmer until most of the broth is gone.
Stir in the sweet potatoes and more broth.
Cook, covered, until the sweet potatoes are soft.
Stir in the cashew cream and coconut milk.
Purée the soup until it’s smooth.
Serve garnished with chopped walnuts and fresh herbs.