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 or leave it out entirely.
¼ cup fresh dill (small stems ok)
½ cup fresh parsley (small stems ok)
Stir in: ½ cup (or more) of sour cream, plain yogurt, vegan sour cream, heavy cream, or cashew cream. (See notes)
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, roughly 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 the 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 the 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.