Celeriac is a great winter vegetable and it’s put to wonderful use in James Martin’s creamy soup.
1 onion, finely diced
50g/2oz streaky bacon, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 leek, white only, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
2 thyme sprigs, leaves only
700g/1lb 8oz celeriac, peeled and cut into small dice
1 litre/1¾ pint chicken stock
200ml/7floz double cream
salt and white pepper
For the soup, heat a wide, deep sauté pan or large saucepan until medium hot, add 25g/1oz of the butter, the onion and bacon and fry for a couple of minutes to just soften.
Add the garlic, leek, celery and thyme sprigs and fry for another minute; then add the chopped celeriac.
Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the celeriac is just tender.
Place into a food blender, in batches if necessary, and blend to a fine purée. Return to the heat in a clean pan.
Add the cream and whisk in the remaining 50g/2oz of butter. Season with salt and white pepper.
For the garnish, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Place the pancetta onto a flat baking tray and cover with a second tray of the same size.
Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and cool for five minutes until crispy.
Heat a frying pan until hot, add half of the butter and the olive oil and heat until foaming.
Add the celeriac and stir fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just softened, then remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Add the rest of the butter and the bread to the pan and cook until golden-brown and crispy, tossing to cook on each side.
Drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, pile the julienned celeriac into the centre of each of four soup plates. Ladle the soup around.
Crumble the crispy bacon over the top and then scatter over the croutons.
Finish with swirls of extra virgin olive oil and cream, and top with coriander cress.
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James Martin is joined by chefs Alyn Williams and Tom Kitchin, and actor Danny Mays.
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