This celery soup is part of the 2018 Feel Good Food Plan, our two-week mind-body-belly plan for starting the year off right.
I have some celery hangups. I’ve written about how to use it up, because it always seems to be lingering in my fridge, lonelier than the third cutest member of a boy band. (That’s VERY lonely, by the way.)
Because the best way to deal with your food-related fears/anxieties/phobias is to face them, I volunteered to test this celery and chickpea soup for the Feel Good Food Plan. Maybe, I thought, it would make me feel good now—but also forever.
The soup, with a celery, onion, chickpea, and chicken stock base, is comforting and flavorful and exactly what you want in the depths of January. It’s ready in around 30 minutes, which is always a welcome surprise when it comes to soup. I don’t know what personality type I am that prefers soup for lunch rather than for dinner, but I made this as meal prep for the work week and it was perfect for warming me up (WHY IS THE AIR CONDITIONING ON IN THIS OFFICE IN WINTER?!) and making me feel full—without being so full I need a desk nap.
But this recipe is all about the bonus sprinkle on top—garlic-chile oil oil that is better than Lay’s potato chips. I told Andy Baraghani, the food editor who developed it, to DOUBLE THAT RECIPE. I used jalapeño instead of Fresno chiles, so sue me. Pro tip: Make sure to take the time to properly chop the garlic, not just slice it, so it’ll cook more evenly. And keep the heat medium-low so they get crunchy and not, you know, burnt. (TBH even though I scorched the garlic the sprinkle tasted awesome.)
Other Andy-style garnishes (this man loves flair!) include a salty yogurt to mix in for creaminess, and a squeeze of lemon on top, which makes all the difference. If you think these accoutrements are optional, you’re missing out on the full Celery Soup Experience. Squeeze the damn lemon! It brightens everything up like drinking rosé on a snow day. Obviously that’s a good thing.
A final note about this recipe—the BA test kitchen has strong feelings about boxed chicken stock. As in, they never use it. If homemade isn’t an option, they go with water instead. That’s up to you. I broke the law and used low-sodium boxed stuff and I’m alive to tell the tale. In fact I’m more than alive. I feel great.
Get the recipe: