Whole Celery Soup with Parmesan and Crispy Pancetta Crumbs – Woolworths Taste Magazine- June 2015


Let’s be honest, the thought of celery soup does not inspire hunger, right? Think again!  This was unbelievably delicious!

Firstly, let me have a little rant about the lack of celeriac in this country.  I was so happy to discover that the Woolworths in Gardens Centre occasionally stocks celeriac, also since Jamie Oliver uses this in his “Save with Jamie” (often).  So I merrily went along buying all my ingredients for this soup, arriving in the celeriac isle smiling enthusiastically.  Smile turned to frown when I saw they were out of stock.  No matter, I was heading to the Waterfront woolies later that day, I would definitely find some there.  I didn’t. To Woolies’ credit, I didn’t find it at any of the Pick & Pay’s, Fruit & Veg’s or Spars either.  Luckily, I still had two days before I had to make this soup as I was planning ahead for the Sunday eve.  To make a long story short, I spent the entire weekend hunting, the very stealthiest of all vegetables, the Celeriac. EVERY single Woolworths, from Gardens to the Waterfront, Greenpoint, Seapoint and even Stellenbosch was out of stock. Most of the staff (although all very helpful and friendly) did not have any idea what a celeriac is.  I cannot blame them though, I never knew until this month either.  What do we have to do to get a steady supply of Celeriac?  Can someone notify me if they see any in store?  So I can go buy them ALL and freeze them? I was hoping that with them being featured so in this months magazine, that there would be MORE of them on sale?

I woke up this morning from a long and involved nightmare that celeriac is the secret ingredient in nuclear warheads and is thus no longer available to the general public. Such is my inner torment!

Ok, end of rant.

I sulkily realised I had no option but to substitute the celeriac for the stems of an extra bunch of celery and an extra potato.  I did not have high hopes for this to turn out right.

While blending the soup I had nightmarish memories of last months bland broccoli soup, and just as I was tasting to see how much seasoning to go for, my whole face lit up with surprise!  This was not just edible, it was incredible! I opted not to add any extra salt and I am very glad about this as the salty and savoury taste of crispy pancetta compliments this dish perfectly with the shavings of parmesan and the crunch and textured of the crispy bread.  I made this with my soup bread so we had fresh, delicious bread to dip into this and truly gorged ourselves.

DO try this soup! Forget about the celeriac, you don’t really need it.  Just add another bunch worth of stems and an extra potato and you have a feast! And an inexpensive soup at that, unless, you spend your entire weekend hunting celeriac.  Hrrrmph!

Effort : Low

Time : 1 hour

Appearance : 9/10 (mine, of course)

Taste : 9/10 (don’t be stingy with pancetta or cream – I added about half a cup of cream and double the pancetta)

Would I make this again? YES!