Prue Leith’s beetroot and pear soup with pancetta

Beetroot and pear are the perfect combination in the warm, comforting winter soup recipe. Serve with slices of brioche.

prue leith beetroot and pear soup
Chris Alack

SERVES 6

1 tbsp olive oil
2 small red onions, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
a pinch of ground cinnamon
600g beetroot, peeled and cut into 1-2 cm cubes
2 ripe pears, cored and cut into 2-3 chunks
1.2 litres hot vegetable stock
salt and black pepper

TO SERVE

12 thin slices of pancetta
6 slices of brioche

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, garlic and celery. Cook, covered, on a low heat for 15 minutes, until the onions and celery are soft. Stir in the cinnamon.

2. Add the beetroot and the pears and continue to cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Pour over the stock, cover again and simmer for 40 minutes or until the beetroot is very tender.

3. Use a hand-held blender to puree the soup until smooth. Season well with salt and black pepper. Keep the soup warm

4. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and grill the pancetta until crispy. Remove from the pan and do the same to the brioche, which won’t take a second to toast on a hot griddle.

5. Serve the soup in warm bowls, garnished with two strips of pancetta each and the toasted brioche on the side.

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Recipe: Prue Leith. Food styling: Clare Lewis. Styling: Sue Radcliffe