CREAMY CELERIAC SOUP WITH PANCETTA & TOASTED WALNUTS

2 tsp olive oil & addition for serving

4 oz. sliced pancetta or bacon

1 Tbsp. butter

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1 bay leaf

1 celeriac cut into chunks

4 cups chicken stock

salt and pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup chopped parsley Heat the oil in a large heavy bottom pan over medium high heat and add the chopped pancetta. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side until crisp. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.  Melt the ghee in the same pot and add the chopped onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf and celeriac chunks. Cook for about 2 minutes longer. Pour in the stock and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender. About 25 minutes. Fish out the bay leaf, stir in the heavy cream, and then transfer the soup to a high speed blender and whirl away on high until completely smooth and creamy. Depending on the size of your blender you may need to do this in batches. Alternately, you can use an immersion blender but the soup won’t be as smooth and creamy. Return the soup to the pot and keep on low. Give it a taste test and season it with addition salt and pepper if needed. If the soup seems too thick add a touch more stock or water.  Meanwhile heat a small dry skillet over medium high heat. Add the walnuts and cook until lightly toasted on all sides. About 5 minutes. Shake the pan often to ensure the nuts cook evenly. Remove from the pan and when cool enough to handle, roughly chop the nuts.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with the cooked pancetta, walnuts and parsley. Drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper