We’re Cooking: Creamy Cauliflower, Celeriac and Celery Soup with Pancetta


Sometimes just playing in the kitchen is fun.  I had an idea to make a celery based soup the other night with fresh celery stalks and celeriac (or celery root).  While I was at the store gathering ingredients I noticed beautiful, enormous heads of cauliflower was on sale for a dollar each….I had to buy, resulting in the whole head going into this soup with onions, garlic, and lots of celery.  Finished with just a bit sherry and cream and topped with crispy bits of pancetta, this was a delicious delight.
Optional addition, baby enoki or clamshell mushrooms cooked in a bit of white wine, sherry and thyme in the fat from the pancetta.

Recipe:

Creamy Cauliflower, Celeriac and Celery Soup with Pancetta
Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 head cauliflower, cut into bit size pieces
1 large celeriac, outer layer removed, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 bunch celery, ends trimmed, cleaned and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 bay leaves
1 large stem rosemary
5 stems thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon each salt and pepper
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar (to your taste)
2 tablespoons Sherry
4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 cup fat-free half and half or heavy cream
3 oz chopped pancetta
2 oz enoki or clamshell mushrooms (optional) with 1 tablespoon Sherry, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper

Preparation:
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven to medium heat.  Add the onion and celery and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to coat the veggies in the oil.  Add the celeriac and cauliflower, stir to coat and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes with the wine.  Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the bay leaves.  Tie the rosemary and thyme in a bundle with kitchen twine, add to the pot with the lemon juice and zest.  Stir to incorporate everything together.  Add the stock and bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes to an hour.  Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a small saute pan over medium high heat until crispy.  (I don’t add oil to the pan, the pancetta is fatty enough.  If you feel you need a bit of oil to get the cooking started add just a touch.) Scoop the crispy pancetta onto a paper towel lined plate and top with another towel to soak up any fat.  Set aside.
If adding the mushroom garnish, drain a bit of the fat from the pancetta pan and add the mushrooms to the pan over medium heat.  Let cook for about a minute then add the wine, Sherry, thyme and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes, then scoop out of the pan into a bowl and set aside.
After the soup has simmered, remove the herb bundle and bay leaves.  Turn the heat off an let cool for a few minutes.  With an immersion blender or food processor slowly blend the soup to a silky, creamy consistency.  Bring back up to a simmer and add the Sherry and the cream, whisking both in slowly.  Whisk in  the parsley.  Add 1 tablespoon of Sherry vinegar and taste.  If you like the taste, serve; if you need a bit more acidity, add the additional tablespoon.  Adjust any final seasonings.  Serve in big soup bowls topped with the pancetta and mushrooms with crusty bread for dipping.

One thought on “We’re Cooking: Creamy Cauliflower, Celeriac and Celery Soup with Pancetta

  1. Pingback: We’re Toasting: A Break in the Weather | Red Wine with Breakfast

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