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Celeriac soup with pancetta crumbs & paprika oil

Celeriac soup with pancetta crumbs & paprika oil

All the elements of this hearty soup by Tara Wigley can be made ahead, ready to assemble just before serving. Make more of the pancetta crumbs than you need – they’re a treat sprinkled over all sorts of things, including salad leaves, jacket potatoes or grilled white fish. 

5 out of 5 stars(1) Rate this recipe
  • Serves4
  • CourseLunch
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook1 hr 5 mins
  • Total time1 hr 25 mins
  • Pluscooling

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  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 clove/s garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • tsp salt
  • 1 large (or 2 smaller) celeriac (about 1kg), peeled and cut into roughly 2cm cubes
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 450ml whole milk
  • 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 77g pack diced smoked pancetta
  • 2 tsp finely chopped chives (optional)
  • Crusty bread, to serve (optional)


  1. Put 2 tbsp oil and the butter in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the leek, garlic, 1 tsp paprika, cumin, salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the vegetables have softened. Add the celeriac and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring a few times, until softened and starting to caramelise. Pour over the wine, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes until the liquid has reduced by about ¼.

  2. Add the milk and stock. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium, then simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the celeriac is completely soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then use a hand-held stick blender or transfer to an upright blender to whizz until completely smooth.

  3. To make the crumbs, cook the pancetta in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Once it starts to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper and set aside. Once cool enough to handle, either roughly chop the pancetta or, for a finer crumb, whizz in a small food processor.

  4. Return the pan with the fat to the heat. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp paprika. Cook over a low heat for one minute, stirring once or twice, then remove from the heat. To serve, divide among four bowls and drizzle over the paprika oil. Sprinkle over the pancetta crumbs and the chopped chives, if using, and serve with crusty bread, if liked.


Typical values per (excluding crusty bread) when made using specific products in recipe


1,947kJ/ 470kcals



Saturated Fat












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5 out of 5 stars1 rating