Potato & Parmesan Soup with Smoked Paprika, Crispy Pancetta & Olive Oil

Potato Soup (2)

The ingredients in this soup work wonderfully well together, creating a rich soup with great depth and earthy flavours. It’s relatively simple to make, but care is needed if you want the soup to have strong clean favours and a good colour.

The key is to cook the aromatic vegetables slowly and evenly; a generous pinch of salt will help to draw out the moisture, intensifying the flavour and reducing the chance of them catching on the bottom of the pot. Covering with a lid also helps, but do keep your eye on them.

If you want neat, flat squares of pancetta that sit prettily on top of the soup you will need to press them down as they cook. To do this cut them into squares and place them on a tray lined with baking paper. Lay more baking paper on top and weigh down with another tray. Cook in a hot oven (190C) for about 10 minutes or until golden & crispy. If you don’t mind them a bit curved and wonky then just grill them as you would bacon.

Makes 4

50g unsalted butter
1 large white onion – fine slice
1 leek –  white part only – fine slice
1 stick celery –  dice
1 clove garlic – smash
2 large floury potatoes – peel & slice
1 piece Parmesan rind
1 – herb bouquet garni
1 litre chicken stock
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Smoked paprika
Olive oil
4 thin slices Pancetta

  • Melt the butter and cook the onions on a very low heat until soft.
  • Add the celery, garlic, leek and cook over a low heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the potato, bouquet garni & Parmesan rind and just enough stock to cover.
  • Simmer until soft and then remove the rind & bouquet garni and process until very smooth, adding enough stock to reach a nice consistency.
  • Put back into the pot and reheat, whisking in the Parmesan.
  • Season to taste and serve with a dusting of smoked Paprika, some squares of grilled Pancetta and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
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