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Turnip, Bean and Watercress Soup

Can you think of anything more comforting than soup? Me neither! It is nutritious, beneficial and delicious. Portugal is the country that consumes the most soup in the world. It is present at lunch as a first course, or on its own as a light dinner. It is usually a baby's first solid meal. In my house all my children were given wholesome, simple, single ingredient soups from 5 months. Of course, it isn't just for children. Soup can be humble and it can be elegant. It is a one pot meal ready in under 30 minutes. It is all about how you dress it and what bowl you use. I often serve soup as a first course at my dinner parties, simply because I find it opens up the palette. They are usually light, smooth and velvety. I serve just a small bowl and dress it up with poached quails' eggs. They look so preen and posh. Everyone always asks for the recipe. My soups are the single most requested recipes on the blog. This recipe contains bacon and chicken stock. Feel free to omit the bacon and substitute with vegetable stock to make this vegetarian.

Turnip, Bean and Watercress Soup

Serves 4 as a main or 6 as a small starter

75 g. Watercress roughly chopped and reserved, leave 3-4 whole sprigs to throw in the pot

65 g. Italian smoked pancetta cubed

2 Turnips, 1roughly chopped and 1 cubed and reserved

3 Potatoes roughly cut

1 Cannellini Beans canned in Water (400g.) drained and half reserved

4 Carrots peeled, 3 roughly chopped and 1cubed and reserved

2 Chicken stock cubes

1tsp. Extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

1. In a stockpot, add 1Tsp. of olive oil and all ingredients except reserved ones. Grab 3-4 sprigs of whole watercress and throw into pot.

2. Cover vegetables with cold water just until they are covered by one inch. This ensures the proper liquid to vegetable ratio for reducing soup to purée later. Let come to the boil and then cover, reduce heat to medium and cook for 25 mins.

3. Meanwhile in a small sauce pan, add your reserved, cubed carrots and turnips. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and reserve. Do not drain cooking water. This will be useful later if your purée is too thick.

4. After 25 minutes, reduce the soup to a purée.

5. If the soup is too thick, add a little of the reserved, cubed vegetable water, a little at a time, until you achieve your preferred consistency .

6. On a very low heat, add the reserved beans, carrots turnips and watercress. Cook stirring gently for 5 minutes. Just long enough to wilt watercress.

7. Ladle into pretty bowls and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil for serving. You could add a few garlic croutons or a poached qual egg for garnish. Delish!

Enjoy Darlings XOXO

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