Root Vegetable Soup with Pancetta and Black Truffle Oil
I made this for dinner last night and oh. my. gosh…. it may be the most delicious soup I have ever had in my life. My husband practically ran into the kitchen on his lunch hour from work to get some today, so I know it was a hit! Once our farmer’s market opens in May for the summer, we eat all the fresh fruits and vegetables we can get our hands on. We brought out first haul home on Monday and I couldn’t wait to make this. Root vegetables sautéed in pancetta (unsmoked italian bacon) fat, then simmered in chicken stock get blended into a super smooth puree topped with crisp pancetta and black truffle infused olive oil… this truly is to die for! It makes 11 cups of soup, which trust me will get eaten quickly with how good it tastes.. but can be frozen and eaten later.
In a large dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add in 4 oz diced pancetta and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon (leaving the fat in the pat) and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. While the pancetta is crisping, you can start prepping your vegetables. Thinly slice 1 large leek. (The part you want to use is the white part, which is a tight bundle of leaves. Cut the roots off and the dark green leaves. Take the cylinder that your left with and put it in a bowl of water to clean them since leeks grow in a sandy soil and it gets lodged in the leaves.) Dice up 2 medium white onions, 3 stalks celery and 3 cloves of garlic. Once you’ve removed the pancetta from the pan, add in these vegetables along with 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Cook these, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until they’re softened but not brown.
While those are softening, peel and cut the following vegetables into bite sized chunks: 1 large rutabaga, 1 large parsnip, 1 large turnip and 7 small carrots. Once the vegetables in the pot have softened, add in these. Pour in 2 (32 ounce) cartons of chicken stock and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer, stir well, cover the pot leaving a small vent and simmer the vegetables for 40 minutes until fork tender. Remove the bay leaves and, working in batches, puree the soup mixture in a blender. I do about 4 batches and once it’s pureed I keep it in a large bowl until all batches are done and then I return it to the pot. If you have an immersion blender, just puree it right in the pot.
Ladle soup into bowl and sprinkle with a little bit of pancetta, then drizzle with a very small amount of black truffle oil.