Prepare for the winter holidays with Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining by Georgeanne Brennan, featuring recipes like Antipasto Platter (Three Variations); Leek Soup with Pancetta and Bread Crumbs; and Baked Ham with Spiced Cider Glaze.
A simple leek soup is dressed up with a topping of crispy pancetta and buttered bread crumbs to make a first course suitable for any holiday meal. It also makes a good lunch or brunch dish, accompanied by a salad.
In a frying pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crispy, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When it foams, add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
In a large pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the leeks, onion, celery, and potato and saute until the leeks and onion are translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the chicken stock, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot. Alternatively, puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Add the cream, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil. Let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth (muslin). Transfer the soup to a clean pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, uncovered, to allow the flavors to blend, about 5 minutes longer.
Ladle into warmed bowls, sprinkle with the pancetta, and garnish with the bread crumbs. Serve hot.
For a vegetarian topping, top the soup with buttered bread crumbs and curls of Parmesan cheese.
This page created October 2007
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