Christmas potato and watercress soup

Christmas is all about the food for us. Are we alone here? Not a bloody chance. It seems this year all I’m hearing about are different holiday dinner plans. Course after course of insanity. Turkeys, pork, veal, vegetables, tourtières, desserts, cheeses, breads. Where do you stop? Actually another question would be, where do you start? With soup of course!

Winter screams for big, hot bowls of soup so why not squeeze one into the line up at Christmas time? With just a few ingredients, including a great stock, soup can start off your Yuletide feast and ease everyone into the heavy loads headed to the table. One I make often, that never fails, is a thick potato and watercress soup. Ready in about 25 minutes, it’s hearty and delicious.

Potato and watercress soup

  • 1 lb. – Yukon Gold potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2″ chunks)
  • 1 – Medium sized onion (chopped)
  • 1 – Garlic clove (minced)
  • 1 bunch – Watercress (coarsely chopped)
  • 3 tbsp – Butter
  • 2 tbsp – Olive oil
  • 2 – 3 cups – Chicken stock (or turkey!)
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Heat the oil and 2 tbsp of butter in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Once the butter has stopped sizzling add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Don’t forget to season.
  3. After 5 minutes add the potato and just enough stock to cover.
  4. Bring everything up to the boil and then lower to a simmer.
  5. After 10 minutes throw in the watercress and add more stock to cover. You can use water instead but it won’t be as good.
  6. Cook everything at a simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
  7. Once there find a way to blend everything. You could do batches in a counter blender or the hand held type. Make it as smooth or chunky as you prefer.
  8. Return the soup to a light heat and stir in the last tablespoon of butter. Season.

On a normal day you could serve this soup as is but t’is the season. Add some cream for crying out loud! We all know the rest of the meal is going to be rich. One variation I’ve tried is adding celery leaves with the watercress. Another could be a small pile of oyster mushrooms sauteed in butter placed in each bowl. Or pan seared scallops. Anyway you serve it, this soup is a champ.

So that’s it for SixTop in 2011. Thanks for all the comments, likes and tweets. We’re already looking forward to another year of posts, pics and crazy diet restriction experiments. We hope you’ll continue reading. Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year!