When I arrived home today I was surprised by a huge hamper from Applewood cheddar stuffed full of goodies; spreadable smoked cheese, crackers, kale, olive oil, leeks, aubergine, courgette, red wine, pumpkin, celeriac, pancetta…I could go on but you get the idea! Now there’s nothing more exciting to me than food, particularly food that arrives on my doorstep with the request to come up with some delicious recipes. oh, ok then. If I must.
After doing a small dance around my living room on opening the hamper, I got down to business and assessed my ingredients. It felt like Ready Steady Cook. Obviously, incorporating the cheese was key. It didn’t help that I was on a low calorie day so obviously had to try and keep it healthy, but I didn’t focus too much on that or let it restrict anything. Luckily, my first idea was to use the pumpkin and celeriac to make soup, incorporating some of the cheese right at the end to add a smoky, creamy texture. So, it was pretty healthy anyway.
This soup is simple, rich and creamy (without any cream) topped with crispy pancetta, fresh basil and a spoonful of melted Applewood smoked cheddar. It is absolutely gorgeous.
This recipe serves 3-4 as a main course, depending how hungry you all are of course.
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- 2 tbsp Applewood smoked cheddar
- 100g pancetta
- 1/2 small pumpkin - peeled, seeded and chopped into chunks
- 1/2 celeriac - cleaned and chopped into chunks
- 1 small onion - sliced finely
- 1 clove garlic - crushed
- 1 red chilli - de-seeded and finely chopped
- 2 pints vegetable stock
- half fat creme fraiche - 1 tbsp
- salt and pepper to taste
- handful fresh basil - roughly chopped
- spray on olive oil
- splash white wine
1. Heat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Lay the pumpkin chunks in a baking dish and spray with some olive oil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and place in the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until tender.
2. While the pumpkin is cooking, put a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the pancetta and fry until crispy. Place to one side on some kitchen roll until the soup is ready.
3. Put a large saucepan on a low heat. Add a few sprays of olive oil or use a drizzle of normal olive oil if you prefer. Add the onion and fry gently for 5-10 minutes until soft.
4. Add the chilli, garlic and celeriac and the splash of white wine. Simmer on a medium heat for a few minutes until the wine has evaporated. Pour in the stock and turn the heat down. Simmer for around 10-15 minutes until the celeriac is tender.
5. Tip the roasted pumpkin into the soup. Add half the basil. Blend the soup with a hand blender until smooth. Stir in the creme fraiche and the cheese until it has melted into the soup. Season with some freshly ground black pepper.
6. Serve topped with the crispy pancetta and remaining basil leaves.