1 tbsp (15 mL) reserved meat drippings or olive oil
2 small bunches celery (about 2 lb/900 g) trimmed and cut into 3-inch (8-cm) pieces
1/2 cup (125 mL) coarsely chopped onion
2 cups (500 mL) chicken stock
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp (5 mL) salt, plus more to taste
Pinch of ground or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, cut into small dice
1 tbsp (15 mL) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 mL) heavy whipping cream
1. In a Dutch oven, heat the meat drippings or olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the celery and onion and sauté 10 to 12 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken stock, red pepper flakes, salt and nutmeg (if using). Simmer until the celery is tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, on a work surface, use the side of a knife or your fingertips to rub together the butter and flour until well mixed, resembling a smooth, thick paste.
3. Whisk the butter-flour mixture into the celery, whisking until completely dissolved. Stir in the cream. Simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and serve.
Reprinted with permission from Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking by Toni Tipton-Martin, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Jerrelle Guy . Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.