Celery and blue cheese soup with crispy smoked pancetta

I think celery is a wonderful ingredient for soup. It can seem on the surface a bit of a nothingy vegetable; great for adding a bit of crunch to a salad but not particularly interesting in its own right.

Don’t get me wrong. I love celery in a salad but it is usually a bit part player.

But when cooked, it is transformed. The flavour deepens and intensifies. And combined as in this soup with the saltiness of smoked pancetta and a strong blue cheese, such as a Stilton or Blue Vinney, I really don’t think you can achieve much more pleasure in a bowl of food than this.

I make my celery soup with chicken stock plus a sprinkling of crispy pancetta to serve, but for a vegetarian version simply leave out the pancetta and use vegetables stock instead.

This is a perfect soup for a light but indulgent lunch and is also interesting enough for a starter when you have friends over for dinner. Its taste belies how simple it is to make. My children will eat it quite happily, but only if I omit to tell them there is any blue cheese in it.

Celery and blue cheese soup with crispy smoked pancetta

Serves 4

Large knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
5 large sticks of celery, chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
800ml chicken stock, hot
75g blue cheese
50g pancetta, diced

In a large pan melt the butter and gently fry the onions until golden. Add the celery and potatoes and toss in the butter for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the hot stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the celery and potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile fry the pancetta in a little more butter until crispy. Place on some kitchen towel so they are not too greasy.

Liquidise until smooth and then return to a gentle heat. Crumble in the blue cheese and stir until it has melted in. Check for seasoning at this point, but I’d be surprised if you need any.

Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of crispy pancetta. Soup doesn’t get sexier than this!

4 thoughts on “Celery and blue cheese soup with crispy smoked pancetta

  1. I love this soup as well but haven’t added potatoes before so I’ll try that. A brilliant way to make a humble veg into something special. And so easy!

    • I have to admit, the first time I made celery soup I only did so because we had loads of celery in the fridge to use up. It didn’t really appeal all that much. But now I’m addicted! I like to add some potato just to give it a tad more body…

  2. Hi, sorry if this is a repeat of a comment, but I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! I was nominated so I’m passing on the blogging love! (It seems all the comments I left yesterday on the nominees are not showing up, so I’m commenting again). Go to my post for the VBA and click on the green badge. Have fun!

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