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Parsnip & Pancetta Chowder with Crispy Leeks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced
- 2 cups chopped leek (white part only)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and chopped into even 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
- 28 ounces beef or chicken bone broth*, plus additional for thinning if desired
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Smoked sea salt and fresh parsley, for serving
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy bottom saucepan or Dutch oven. Sautee leeks for 2 minutes until beginning to brown. Add the pancetta and garlic and sautee for 4 more minutes until fragrant and the leeks have wilted. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the saucepan and turn heat to medium. Stir in celery and onion for cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Now stir in the parsnips, bay leaf, thyme, and sea salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the parsnips have begun t soften.
- Add bone broth to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cover saucepan with a lid. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the parsnips are tender enough to puree but not mushy. Immediately transfer 2 cups of the chopped veggies from the pan to a separate bowl using a slotted spoon. These will be the chunky vegetables in your soup.
- Transfer the remaining contents of the saucepan, including the bay leaf, to a high-speed blender. Blend until silky smooth.
- Transfer blended soup back into the saucepan and then stir in the reserved leeks/pancetta, reserved chopped and cooked parsnips/celery/onions, and the lemon juice. Determine if you would like your chowder any thinner. If so, add 1/4 cup of additional warm bone broth at a time until desired thickness is reached.
- Serve sprinkled with smoked sea salt and fresh herbs, if desired.