I'm in love with soups this time of year. As the weather moves towards more seasonal temperatures in New Hampshire, I find the aroma of soup simmering on the stove to be a soothing antidote to the crisp, cold of the out-of-doors. This Potato Soup with Carrots and Watercressis a light and nutritious soup suitable for lunch or dinner. Creamy without the addition of any cream—puréed russet potatoes give the creamy texture—it is enlivened by the addition of zesty watercress toward the end of the cooking process. We had it for dinner last night, garnished with basil pesto and slivers of sun-dried tomatoes, and accompanied by a platter of cheese, smoked meats and whole grain bread. Delicious.
As we move into December, we will all be busy getting ready for the holidays. This season, filled with so much joy, also brings anxiety and worry not only about gifts to be purchased and wrapped, travels to far away places, but about taking care of our health in the midst of it all. Holiday meals don't all have to be heavy affairs. You can add light, nutritious dishes in your planning.
I'll be available throughout the holidays to help you with your preparations, as needed. Please feel free to call or email with any questions about recipes or menu planning as they come up. My kitchen door is always open.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
OTATO SOUP WITH WATERCRESS & CARROTS
Yield: 6 Servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced finely
- 1 small onion, minced finely
- 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
- 3 large russet potatoes, rinsed, peeled and cut to small cubes
- 4 small carrots, rinsed, peeled and cut to small cubes
- 6 cups stock (vegetable, beef, or chicken), plus a bit more as needed
- 1 large bunch watercress, trimmed and rinsed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For garnish at serving:
- 1 cup prepared basil pesto sauce
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, slivered
- Put the olive oil in a large soup pot and place the pot on the stove-top. Heat the stove-top to medium. When the oil is about to sizzle, add the chopped garlic and minced onion. Toss the garlic and onion with olive oil and cook until they become translucent, about one to two minutes. (Be careful not to brown the garlic and onion. They only need to be cooked lightly to bring out their flavors.) Add the herbes de Provence. Toss again.
- Add the potatoes and carrots. Toss once or twice with the vegetables and spices already in the pot. Add the stock to the pan, bring the liquid to a boil, stir everything once or twice, and lower the heat to a simmer.
- The soup should simmer long enough to allow the vegetables to become very tender. Cooking times will vary depending on the freshness of the vegetables. Begin to check things after about 20 minutes. Continue checking until all the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add the watercress and stir in to the soup.
- If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup in the pan.
- If you have a blender or food processor, remove the vegetables from the stock with a large slotted spoon. Put the vegetables in the blender or food processor and purée. Return the puréed vegetables to the stock and stir to combine.
- If the soup seems too thick at this point, add a bit more stock to get it to the consistency you want.
- Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Serve soup garnished with basil pesto and sun-dried tomatoes.
- This soup can be made in a slow cooker. Simply cook the onion and garlic as directed. Add them to the slow cooker along with the potatoes, carrots and stock. Cover and allow to cook until the vegetables are tender. Continue with the recipe as described above.
- If you do not eat the soup right away, cool it and place in air tight containers in the refrigerator. It will last for one to two days. It may thicken while in the refrigerator, so you will want to have some extra stock on hand to thin the soup when you are ready to reheat it. You can also freeze it for up to one month.