Across Umbria every weekend throughout the summer of fall, there are many sagre or food festivals taking place. Over the past five years we’ve visited many of these local festivals, but have learned the festivals in the fall featuring mushrooms, chestnuts, onions, truffles, and black celery are our favorites.
We visited Trevi last weekend for the Black Celery & Sausage festival which is one of our favorite festivals each year. The black celery of Trevi isn’t really black (see photos below) but is very dark green and has an intense celery flavor. This type of celery can only be grown in a specific area outside of Trevi, and folks come from all over for this yearly festival, both to buy black celery, as well as to taste the local dishes created using celery. I have learned to appreciate celery so much more after experiencing this festival myself as there are so many delicious dishes you can make using celery, including using it in Celery Parmigiano, Stuffed Celery, Celery Pesto, and this Cream of Celery Soup to name just a few.
Although you cannot buy black celery outside of Italy, regular celery works just as well in all the recipes, and I find if I add fresh parsley to some of the dishes I make using regular celery, I can replicate the vibrant “green” flavor of the black celery. Use the leaves of the celery as well as the stalks as they are full of flavor and are much higher in nutritional value than the stalks. My soup looks very green as I used black celery in my photos, but I have made this soup with regular celery as well and it is just as delicious. If using regular celery, your soup may be lighter in color but will not lack for flavor! I garnished my soup with some sauteed sausage to carry on with the “flavor” of the Black Celery & Sausage Festival as well as some crisp croutons for texture.
Deborah Mele 2012
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Onion, Peeled & Diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Minced
- 1 1/2 Pounds Celery (Stalks & Leaves), Washed & Diced
- 1 Large Potato, Peeled & Diced
- 6 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 Italian Sausage Links, Meat Removed From Casings
- 1 Cup Bread Cubes
- Cracked Black Pepper
- In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and cook the onion and celery until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the broth and potato, and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potato is fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add the parsley leaves and cook another 4 to 5 minutes.
- Use a hand blender to puree the soup until smooth, or work in batches in a food processor and pulse until very smooth.
- Return to pot, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Stir in the lemon juice and keep warm.
- To prepare the garnish, heat the oil in a skillet, and cook the sausage meat over medium heat until lightly browned, breaking the meat up into small pieces as it cooks using two forks.
- Add the bread cubes to the sausage and cook until the bread is golden and crisp, stirring often to prevent burning.
- Serve the soup in four individual bowls, then sprinkle the sausage, black pepper and croutons on top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 877 Total Fat: 51g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 35g Cholesterol: 238mg Sodium: 902mg Carbohydrates: 34g Fiber: 6g Sugar: 8g Protein: 69g