Wednesday, 9 November 2011

P is for... Pea and pancetta potage

You'll be forgiven for thinking I'm just trying my luck with the "P" for potage here, but you'll also be wrong. After much teasing from the P-ers that "potage" is just a posh word for soup, I told them what I'm about to tell you.

Although potage has been pinched by some posh restaurants to use as a pimped up synonym for soup, in actual fact, it has defining characteristics of its own.  Potage is from the old French "pottage" meaning "potted dish" and is used as an umbrella term for thick soups, stews or porridges. OK, so potage is, essentially, a stewy soup - I wasn't going to go anywhere near the porridge despite the extra "P" it would have given me. I decided to only blend half of it, to ensure my potage remained thick and chunky. Does a thick soup with bits in turn it into a potage? I'm going to say yes, it does! 

Pea and pancetta potage

A knob of butter
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
200g pancetta
1 kilo frozen garden peas
1.5 litres fresh chicken stock
Salt and pepper

Fry the onions, garlic and half the pancetta in butter and oil until the onions are soft and the pancetta has browned. Add the chicken stock and peas, season and leave to simmer for around half and hour. Blend half the soup and leave the rest chunky. Stir through and taste for seasoning. At this point, you can leave the potage to cool and reheat it later. When ready to serve, fry the remaining pancetta in a dry pan until crispy. Ladle the soup into warm bowls and scatter their tops with the crispy pancetta.

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