Cauliflower soup with crisp pancetta

By Tony Rosenfeld
December 31, 2008
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Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound thickly sliced pancetta or bacon, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 large leek, finely diced, soaked in cold water, and patted dry
2 carrots, cut in 1/4-inch dice
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups chicken stock
1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into florets
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1. In a flameproof casserole over medium heat, heat the oil and cook the pancetta for 6 minutes or until it renders most of its fat and starts to brown lightly. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels.

2. Add the leek, carrots, and salt to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 6 minutes or until the leek softens and turns translucent. Add the stock and cauliflower and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender.

3. Stir in the cream, vinegar, thyme, and pepper. With an immersion blender or in batches in a blender, puree the soup and return it to the pan. Let the mixture return to a boil. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like. Sprinkle with pancetta.

(Food styling/Tony Rosenfeld; Photo by Wenda Maeda/Globe Staff)
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