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This is a beautiful, comforting soup that we’ve been enjoying recently. You’ll find it lovely and soothing, and a template that can be served with any protein you fancy. I’ve used ham, which was left over from Thanksgiving here in Canada, but it would be equally tasty with roast chicken or turkey, ground beef cooked with herbs and even sautéed chicken livers. Whatever you choose, be sure to include some fat for a nicely balanced meal.
Bitter leaves are really helpful in aiding the digestive process, so I like to include them in many of my meals. Watercress is definitely one of my favorites as I love its light peppery flavor, which is perfect alongside the mellow, bordering-on-sweetness, of the rutabaga.
If you don’t have any broth to hand, use all water. However remember that broth is first choice, because it’s rich in minerals and great for gut healing and joint repair. And, let’s face it, that’s what we’re searching for.
- 2 bunches watercress (approx 12 oz)
- 3 tablespoons bacon grease, lard or other solid fat
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 med-large rutabaga (1 lb), peeled and chopped
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- Generous pinch sea salt
- Slices of ham or other protein (to serve; see text above)
- Watercress sprigs (to serve)
- Wash the watercress extremely well and reserve a handful to use as garnish.
- Melt the fat in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 6-8 minutes until softened but not colored. Add the celery and give it a stir to incorporate. Next add the rutabaga and stir once again. Pour in the broth, bring the liquid up to a boil, put a lid on and then reduce down to a simmer. Cook for around 20-25 minutes, or until the rutabaga is tender. The exact timing will depend on the size of your rutabaga pieces.
- Add the watercress to the pan, turn the heat off and push down into the liquid. Leave the lid off, to preserve the color, and allow the leaves to wilt, a few minutes only.
- Transfer the soup to a blender and purée until smooth. You will need to do this in batches.
- Ladle into bowls and top with the ham and the reserved watercress garnish.