Silky Shallot Soup with Crispy Pancetta

By mariaraynal
February 19, 2010
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Author Notes:

For the last few years, I have been engaged in a wonderful relationship with shallots. I've found their sweet, sophisticated flavor has improved my cooking immensely. This light-bodied soup contrasts their delicate essence with earthy rosemary and a touch of cream for a velvety texture. Top with pancetta and frizzled shallots for a burst of crispness. Serve as first course for beef or chicken dishes, or as a main course with the obligatory crisp green salad and crusty bread.


Serves: 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups shallots, thinly sliced, plus a half cup
  • Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 20 ounces good quality chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 5 1/2 inch slices pancetta, cubed
  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large soup pot over medium, add 5 cups shallots, sweat until soft for several minutes.
  2. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and bay leaf. Cook until golden and beginning to caramelize, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary.
  3. After another five minutes or so, deglaze with wine and reduce. Add chicken stock and simmer for at least 10 minutes, longer if you have the time. Remove bay leaf.
  4. Meantime, saute pancetta in a stainless steel pan until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add remaining 1/2 cup shallots to pancetta fat and cook until crisp. Place on paper towels.
  5. Remove soup from heat and puree with an immersion blender or in a food processor. Stir in cream and serve, topped with pancetta and frizzled shallots.

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