Celeriac, Thyme and Crispy Pancetta Soup

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Despite it’s rather grotesque and bulbous appearance, celeriac – also known as the turnip rooted celery; boasts a beautiful sweet and nutty flavour.

Celeriac is a fantastic vegetable to pick up in Ireland at the moment, as it’s 100% in season. Not only is the humble celeriac affordable, but it’ also low in calories, it’s filling, and a really good source of fibre and vitamin C.

This knobbly wonder has a hearty texture, perfect for a warming pick-me-up, a main meal alternative, or indeed makes for an impressive starter for the all important Christmas dinner.

The addition of crispy pancetta to the soup, gives it an extra depth of flavour – adding to the overall heartiness.

Serves: 4-6

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Ingredients:

  • 1 celeriac
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A handful of fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 100g of pancetta
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 800ml of water

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Method:

  1. Peel the celeriac with a potato peeler, and then slice it roughly. Chop up the onion and garlic and leave to one side.
  2. Heat the tablespoon of olive oil, and start by frying off the pancetta until it’s nice and crispy. Once crisp, remove the pancetta and leave to one side.
  3. Next, lightly sweat the onion, garlic and celeriac for about five minutes or so.
  4. Remove the thyme leaves from the sprigs by rubbing your fingers along the stalks, add them to the pot along with the bay leaf – keeping everything on a low heat and stirring frequently.
  5. Dissolve the stock cube in 450ml of water, add to the pot and add an extra 350ml of water on top of that.
  6. Add a pinch of cracked black pepper to the soup, bring it to the boil and allow to simmer for about 25  minutes –  until the celeriac is tender.
  7. Once it’s ready, liquidise the soup with a blender or hand blender.

To serve :

Heat the soup up again if necessary, and top with the crispy pancetta and some extra thyme leaves for that festive feel. Oat cakes make a delicious accompaniment to the soup if you’d like an alternative to bread or try it with a homemade savoury scone – also delicious.

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