It was a last minute decision for Sharyn and I to spend New Years Eve at The Ritz-Carlton. I remember that magical night like it was yesterday…
As we travelled to the Ritz, eagerly discussing the lavish dinner to come, one course intrigued us the most.
Not the delicate baby greens salad with creamy Gorgonzola cheese.
Nor the perfectly seared Diver Scallop floating in a lovely green foam…
…Not the tender prime filet mignon drenched in a red wine reduction and paired with a luscious butter poached lobster tail.
Nor the trio of creative and decadent chocolate desserts….
…it was the Sunchoke soup topped with crispy crumbled pancetta…
We booked the late dinner seating, and our scrumptious meal lasted over 2 hours ending just as the new year rang in. What a great way to celebrate the start of 2010!
I decided to create my own version of Sunchoke Soup once I discovered that Sunchokes are available through Peapod.
Sunchokes have an earthy flavor that compliments the hearty beef broth, sweet leeks and tangy green onions. The salty sweet crisped pancetta adds a crunchy texture to the creamy soup.
To prepare the Sunchoke & Leek Soup you will need:
- 1 large leek, dark green part removed, white part divided lengthwise and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 pound fresh Sunchokes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 green onions, white parts chopped into large pieces
- 1 14 oz can Beef Broth (or fresh made broth)
- 14 oz water
- Zest of 1/4 lemon
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 cup half n’ half (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk)
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- Chopped green onion tops for garnish
(Servings = 4 cups or 2 large bowls, Prep Time= 15 mins, Cook Time= 45 mins)
Place the chopped leek in a large bowl of water for a few minutes then drain in a colander rinsing well to remove all of the grit.
Start the Crispy Maple Pancetta (recipe follows).
Add all of the ingredients, except the green onion garnish, into a medium sized sauce pot. Bring the mixture to a light simmer over medium heat. Allow it to simmer and reduce slightly for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are all very tender.
Turn off the heat and add the half n’ half to the sauce pot. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (or use a food processor).
Bring the soup back to a light simmer and reduce slightly for another 5 minutes to thicken. Reseason with salt and pepper, but remember that the pancetta will add a lot of saltiness to the soup when added.
Portion into bowls, pile the Crispy Maple Pancetta in the middle of the bowl, and garnish with chopped green onion.
To make the Crispy Maple Pancetta you will need:
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 pound of pancetta, chopped into 1/2 cubes
- 3 Tbsp real maple syrup
(Servings= 2-4, Prep Time= 5 mins, Cook Time= 40 mins)
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add the cubed pancetta.
Saute for 20-30 minutes until it is reduced to 1/2 original size and very crispy. Lower the heat as the pancetta shrinks in size to keep it from burning.
Remove the crispy pancetta and drain well on paper towels. Pour out the rendered fat and wipe the skillet clean with paper towels.
Reheat the nonstick skillet on medium heat and add the crispy pancetta. Drizzle with maple syrup, and saute for about 5 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and allow the glazed pancetta to cool slightly until the syrup has hardened on the outside creating an ultra crispy crust.
PRINT RECIPE HERE
Try Sunchoke and Leek Soup with Crispy Maple Pancetta next time your puttin’ on the Ritz.
Thank you for reading my blog.