I do so love this time of year, the crisp mornings, the nights drawing in, the leaves turning to a burnished gold. It’s also the time of year that my appetite changes for warming, nourishing foods.
My summer ‘salad for lunch’ days are over and I turn to soup of one kind or other. When I was little we would always have soup at some point at the weekends, it was annoyingly called ‘soup de jour’ but was no less than delicious. I have been trying ever since to recreate that soup but it’s a soup that is really just a bit of this and that. When I finally get some sort of recipe for this amazing soup I will share it, but for now I will stick with what I know.
When I feel – how should I put it? – ah yes, a little more rounded than usual…. I turn to swapping one meal a day for the following gut busting soup. On my stereo I play Autumn Leaves by Eva Cassidy. It’s so beautiful.
1 onion sliced
1 celery sliced
1 clove garlic
2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
200g watercress (I use two 100g bags)
A little olive oil
2 pints chicken stock, fresh if you can, if not I like the Organic Kallo stock cubes.
Put your onion and celery in a little olive oil to sweat (*see note below) over a low heat for 20mins or so adding the garlic after 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and allow them to soften a little whilst stirring occasionally. Add the stock and cook until the potatoes are cooked through. Now the secret to a good Watercress soup is to not cook the watercress in the soup. So, add your watercress allowing the heat of the soup to soften it so you can fit it all in. Then stop cooking. Blitz in a blender until smooth. I find it needs little seasoning as the stock usually is a little salty and the watercress is peppery, but season to taste if you wish and serve.
*Sweating: Sweating is the process of releasing flavours with moisture and low temperatures. In cooking, taking the time to sweat aromatics-onions, carrots, celery, garlic, shallots etc, before adding other ingredients gives them a chance to start building flavours. This softens them and gives them a head start in the cooking process and draws out their flavours. You usually use some sort of Fat (oil, butter etc), and on a very low heat allow the aromatics to soften and go translucent. Do not allow browning to take place, if this is happening the temperature is set too high.
Did you know………Watercress is a Superfood! As well as being delicious it’s teaming with an amazing 15 vital nutrients and minerals. Gram for gram, watercress can boast more vitamin C than oranges, more vitamin E than broccoli, more calcium than whole milk and more iron than spinach! Watercress also has exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body and needed for growth and development, immunity, not to mention healthy vision, hair, skin, nails, bones and teeth! Phew what a list. As well as all that, numerous scientific studies have also proven that watercress is an important player in the field of cancer prevention. I have included a interesting study… have a read: click to download this health professional’s report.
Hurrah a yummy soup and so healthy too!
This popped up on the radio the other day I love it and have to share it before I go……..remember this? Listen – genius. One more, Sorry I can’t help myself……. Take on me…. last minute bop around this kitchen before picking the kids up, so pleased no one can see me.