1. In a five-quart pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks, and celery and sauté for 15–20 minutes or until somewhat softened. Stir often. Add the garlic at the end and sauté an additional minute.
2. Add liquid, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and add chestnuts.
3. Cook for 15–20 minutes or until veggies are soft. Remove from heat. Add parsley, basil, thyme if using, a net bag with a handful of celery leaves, honey, and wine. Mix together. Let steep for 10 minutes.
4. Remove bay leaf and celery leaves. Stir in almond butter.
5. Blend soup with an immersion blender to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
6. Garnish with croutons or chestnuts for a pareve soup, or sautéed meat cubes for a meat version.
This makes a thick soup. If you prefer it thinner, you can add an additional cup of water or broth. To make a meat garnish, heat a little bit of oil in a shallow frying pan. Add meat cubes and quickly sauté on all sides until crispy.
To add more depth of flavor, add a meat bone when sautéing the veggies and cook it along with the soup.
Make sure your celery is light green and fresh, and not dark or bitter. Also, if you live somewhere that sells bug free celery, save the leaves.