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Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter inspired by The Walking Dead

Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter
Today marks the start of what is going to be an awesome week. I've joined Kim from Cravings of a Lunatic and Dionne from Try Anything Once Culinary in a culinary countdown to the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead! We'll be sharing recipes inspired by TWD throughout the week, so be sure to check back every day. Plus, we're giving away one set of The Walking Dead DVDs, seasons 1-5 (see bottom of the post to enter for your chance to win). Are you ready for Dead Eats: Recipes Inspired by The Walking Dead!?

I should start off by saying that there may be a few tiny spoilers in this post, so if you haven't seen the first half of season 6 yet - consider yourself warned! Okay, I have lots of fun and delicious Walking Dead inspired recipes in my head, but the funny thing is - none of them are gruesome or gory. Most of mine are storyline or character inspired. That's just the way my brain works. I'm not adverse to working a little bit of that in sometime in the future, though.
Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter
Today's recipe is inspired by "Scary Carol", aka "Suburban Housewife Carol". This Carol dispenses sage advice and whips up delicious meals from unwanted pantry items with a plastic smile. It's a genius move on her part, ingratiating herself into daily life in Alexandria. After the opening credits of episode 2, season 6, it shows Carol shopping the pantry with some of the other ladies. She reaches for a can of Cream of Celery Soup and is told she's very brave and that that can had been there "since the start".

To that, Carol replies "Well I'm hoping the paprika will mask the soup's...celeriness."
Carol in the pantry choosing Cream of Celery Soup
Later in the episode, Carol makes a casserole which I'm assuming uses that can of cream of celery soup...because really...when else is cream of celery soup used? Do people open up a can, mix it with water, and eat it as-is? I know I never have. Thus, I decided I wanted to try making an unadulterated version of the soup. Okay, slightly adulterated since I drizzled it with paprika butter as a nod to Carol's paprika sentiment. But still pretty pure.

How was it? Actually, it was flippin' amazing. I mean, you know how celery just tastes and smells...clean. This soup is the creamy essence of that - light, satisfying, super addictive. It's awesome on its own, but with the splatter (resembles blood splatter, right?) of paprika butter, you get a bit of heat and some smoky undertone. So. Darn. Delicious. I think Carol would approve.

Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter
Delicate homemade cream of celery soup drizzled with smoky paprika butter.
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Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
Keywords: soup/stew

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 4 cups (10-12 ounces) roughly chopped celery (stalks and leaves)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
for the paprika butter:
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of fine salt
make the soup:
Melt the butter in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Add celery, onion, and garlic; cook until they just begun to turn tender but haven't gotten any color on them, stirring often, 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over everything, stirring until it has all absorbed, then letting cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the lesser amount of salt and white pepper, then add the chicken (or vegetable) stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the celery is very soft.

Remove from heat and use and immersion blender to puree until it is as smooth as you can get it. You could also do this very carefully in a regular blender. No matter which method you choose, you will have celery "strings" stuck in your blades - it's the nature of the beast. Just leave the strings on the blade and discard them as soon as you're done. If you'd like to go one step further and strain the soup before eating, do that now. I actually like the body that not straining it adds, but if you're serving it to young children, the elderly, or anybody with problems swallowing, then strain it first.

Stir in the heavy cream, then taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.

make the paprika butter:
Melt the butter in a small pan. As soon as the butter melt, swirl in the paprika and salt, then remove from the heat.

to serve:
Serve the soup warm, each serving drizzled with a little bit of the paprika butter (use it to taste).

This cream of celery soup is delicious on its own (without the paprika butter), as well - so don't feel like you shouldn't try it if you don't want to add that. If you do drizzle some on, it adds a little pop of smoky heat to eat bite.
Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter
Another delicious "Dead Eats" from my co-conspirator:
-Baked Ribs from Dionne at Try Anything Once Culinary
-Cinnamon Pecans from Kim at Cravings of a Lunatic

We are not affiliated with or sponsored by AMC or The Walking Dead. We're just big ass fans.
Cream of Celery Soup with Paprika Butter