No- not a soup for serving to guests (though you certainly could!) but a recipe for potato soup from a guest blogger. This is the first time I’ve accepted a guest post on my blog. Dena Bray, the author of the post and owner of Gathering Flavors, is a long-time friend of my husband, John. Dena has offered cooking classes in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont for years. I hope you enjoy not only her recipe for potato soup, but her bonus inclusion of a recipe for vegetable stock.
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 Watercress is a light and nutritious soup suitable for lunch or dinner. Creamy without the addition of any cream-puréed potatoes provide 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 fresh basli and slivers of fresh tomatoes. Accompanied by a whole grain bread, it was delicious!
As December progresses, 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 incorporate light, nutritious dishes in your planning. For example, this Potato and Watercress Soup includes colors perfect for Christmas meals when garnished with green basil and red tomatoes.
I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen, gathering flavors, soon.
Potato Soup with Carrots and Watercress
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 small onion, minced finely
1 teaspoon Gathering Flavors French Spice Blend *or equal amount 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 vegetable stock (recipe follows*), 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 slivered fresh basil leaves
1 cup slivered fresh tomatoes
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 Gathering Flavors French Spice Blend* or 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 occaisionally.
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 desire.
Taste. Add salt and pepper, as needed.
Serve soup garnished with basil and tomato slivers.
Yield: About 2 quarts
2 onions, peeled and cut in half
2 carrots, rinsed peeled and trimmed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 celery sticks, rinsed
One bunch fresh parsley, rinsed and tied together with butcher twine
1 bay leaf
One tablespoon black peppercorns
One tablespoon sea salt
2 quarts cold water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the onions, carrots, garlic cloves, and celery sticks in a non-stick baking pan with raised sides. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
If making stock on a stove top, place the roasted vegetables in a large stock pot. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; then lower to a simmer. Simmer for one hour.
If making stock in a slow cooker, place the roasted vegetables along with all the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker. Cover and simmer on low for one hour.
Allow to cool slightly. Remove the solid ingredients from the liquid. Use immediately or store in air tight containers in the refrigerator or freezer. (If storing, cool completely before placing in storage containers.)
*For a richer stock, reserve the onions, carrots, garlic and celery after the stock has finished simmering. Puree. Return to the stock after all the other solid ingredients have been removed. Stir to combine.
1. Gathering Flavors French Spice Blend can be purchased at the Gathering Flavors Store.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Dena Testa Bray writes a food blog, Gathering Flavors, that features seasonal recipes based on fresh ingredients and fun food photos. She also owns the Gathering Flavors Store where she sells new and gently used culinary books, naturally gluten and salt free Gathering Flavors Spice Blends, and seasonal food creations.Written and owned by Dena Testa Bray
Dena Testa Bray Enterprises, LLC
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