Cook yourself a perfect Christmas

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Are you still deciding your Christmas menu?

Then maybe this is just what you’ve been waiting for.

Over the next three weeks our friends at the Cooking School at Dean Clough will take readers through the perfect Christmas meal.

This week Paul Thompson and his colleagues show us how to make a fabulous warming starter, celery and potato soup and glorious cheese croutes to float on top and add just a little decadence.

Next week they will offer a step-by-step guide to making a scrumptious Christmas pudding.

And in the third week we will run these two recipes again together with instructions on how to cook the crowning glory of the Christmas table, turkey.

It’s not every day you get help every step of the way from professional chefs.

Remember too that you can take the heat out of the kitchen on Christmas Day by making this soup well in advance and freezing it.

All that needs to be done on the day is the croutes. What could be easier?

Celery & Potato Soup

with Cheese Croute

Recipe (4-6 portions):

Ingredients

50g butter

1 medium onion (finely chopped)

1 large “leafy” head of celery (finely chopped)

450g potatoes (peel and then chop up small)

725ml chicken stock (change to vegetable stock if vegetarian recipe

required)

150ml double cream

salt & pepper

1 par-baked baguette

50g grated mature cheddar

Method:

• Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, celery & potatoes

• Cook gently, covered for 10 minutes without colour

• Add the stock, season well and then bring to the boil, turn

down to a simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked

• Cool a little and then put half into a food processor and puree finely adding the cream and then coarsely puree the rest

• Mix together the two soups and put to one side keeping warm

• Take the par baked baguette, cut at an angle and toast under the grill. Sprinkle with cheese on one side and melt under the grill.

• Ladle the soup into bowls, put a couple of croutes on top and serve