Potato Soup with Pancetta and Gorgonzola

Potato Soup with Pancetta and Gorgonzola

 The essentially mild flavor of potatoes makes them a natural to blend with cheeses, especially assertive cheeses like heady Gorgonzola. The bits of pancetta add a smoky note too.

ServingsSERVES: 6-8Preparation timePREP: 20 min.Cooking timeCOOK: 4 slow cooker.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound pancetta, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock or purchased stock
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 1/2 cup grated fontina
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Cook pancetta in a skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Remove pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and set aside. Discard all but 3 tablespoons grease from the skillet.

2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Scrape mixture into the slow cooker.

3. Add potatoes, stock, and thyme to the slow cooker, and stir well. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours or on High for 3 to 4 hours, or until vegetables are tender.

4. If cooking on Low, raise the heat to High. Mash some of vegetables with a potato masher until desired consistency; the more that is mashed the thicker the soup will be. Add Gorgonzola, fontina, and half-and-half, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until cheeses melt and soup simmers. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve hot, sprinkling each serving with pancetta.

Note: The soup can be prepared up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, tightly covered. Reheat it, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally.

Variations:
– Substitute Parmesan for the Gorgonzola.
– Add 1/4 cup cloves from Roasted Garlic to the slow cooker.