Pear and beetroot soup with crispy pancetta

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6

Appears in

This is the perfect autumn warmer: fabulous colour, spicy and filling. Add a glug of brandy and tell yourself it is medicine . . . bound to ward off winter colds.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 600 g beetroot, peeled and cut into l–2cm (½ in) cubes
  • 2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 2–3cm (1 in) chunks
  • 1.2 litres hot vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook, covered, on a lowish heat for a good 15 minutes, until the onions and celery are soft. Stir through the cinnamon.
  2. Add the beetroot and pears to the saucepan and continue to cook, covered, for 10 minutes, removing the lid to stir halfway through. Pour over the stock, cover again and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beetroot is tender and cuts like butter.
  3. Use a hand-held blender or food processor to purée the soup, in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the soup to the saucepan and warm through. Season well with salt and black pepper.
  4. Heat a griddle or frying pan over a high heat and grill the pancetta until crispy. Remove from the pan and quickly do the same to the brioche, which won’t take a second to toast on a hot griddle.
  5. Serve the soup in bowls, each garnished with two grilled strips of pancetta. Put toasted brioche on the table.

To serve

  • 12 thin slices of pancetta
  • 6 slices of brioche

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