Celeriac soup with crispy pancetta croutons

Knobbly and a little weird, this misunderstood root vegetable is often over-looked by the everyday grocery shopper. Generally speaking, I don’t think people know how to use this vegetable, let alone what it tastes like. Celeriac tastes like a cross between celery and parsley. It can be mashed, used in soups, thinly sliced and added to a salad or even roasted.

My boyfriend asked me to make this specific soup for him – he had seen it on River Cottage and decided while grocery shopping on the weekend that we needed to test it out. I’ll admit, I have never used celeriac in a soup before, I usually mash it and serve it with a hearty winter stew – but it was time to spread my wings a little further and explore.

What a treat this soup is. It’s not as heavy as a traditional potato and leek, the celeriac brings a freshness and natural creaminess that absolutely screams winter. I livened mine up a bit with my famous crispy pancetta croutons which add texture and flavour to the soup. But, you could so easily just serve with a plain slice of bread with some melted cheese on top if that’s more you style. Whatever way you like to serve soup, be sure to try this recipe out soon, I promise you will love celeriac. Who knows, it might even become a regular on your table.

Serves 4.

Celeriac soup with crispy pancetta croutons

Celeriac soup with crispy pancetta croutons

The list:

50gm butter
1 celeriac, peeled and cubed
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 leek, trimmed, washed and roughly sliced
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 litre stock, chicken or vegetable
3 slices multi-grain bread (or whatever variety you like), torn into rough pieces
6 slices rolled pancetta, thinly sliced (you can omit for a vegetarian dish)
Olive oil

The method:

  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pot over a medium-low heat. Add the celeriac, leek, potato, garlic and onion, season generously, and gently sweat the vegetables until they’re all starting to soften (this will take roughly 10 minutes).
  2. Add the stock, bring the soup up to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the celeriac is completely tender.
  3. Blend until smooth, using either a stick blender or a bench-top blender, return to the pan and reheat over a medium flame.
  4. To make the crispy crouton mix, fry pancetta until crisp, remove from pan and allow to cool before breaking into smaller pieces.
  5. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan used for the pancetta and add your roughly torn bread. Move around the pan until the bread has started to go crispy (3 – 4 minutes), then return the pancetta pieces and warm through. Remove from the pan.
  6. Just before serving, check the soup for seasoning. Top with crispy pancetta crouton mix and serve.

Enjoy!

*Tip: River Cottage serve their soup with a parsley and walnut pesto.

Celeriac soup is perfect for a cold winter's night, naturally creamy and full of flavour

Celeriac soup is perfect for a cold winter’s night, naturally creamy and full of flavour

Homemade croutons add texture and taste delicious

Homemade croutons add texture and taste delicious

*Recipe sourced from River Cottage Christmas Fayre

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