Cream of Watercress Soup

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I love homemade cream soups. This watercress one is a heavily modified version of  Mum’s recipe. In the original, she uses a leek and potato soup base and bacon. I try to use as little meat as possible, but here I couldn’t make it vegetarian because I generally find vegetable stock too weak to make flavourful soup.

I make this when I have chicken stock and lots of yummy watercress from my usual vegetable stall. Try to get younger bunches with finer stems. Coarse stems would result in a rather fibrous soup.

The recipe itself is very simple although you’ll need a liquidiser. Mine comes as an attachment to my Kenwood mixer, normally used for baking. I suppose you could use a stick blender or a food processor, just that it’ll probably take a bit longer to reach the right pureed-ness!

This soup is also very freezer-friendly. I’ll make up a huge batch for lunch with salad and freshly baked bread, and then stick the rest in the freezer. Homemade soup is such a nice thing to go back to after a long day at work!

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Ingredients:

25 g butter
3 onions, chopped coarsely
1 stick celery, chopped, optional
3 tbsp flour
400 g watercress, torn to small pieces
1 litre hot chicken stock

Method:

  1. In a heavy cast iron pot, melt the butter and sweat the onions and celery on low heat till they turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle over the flour and continue stirring over low heat for another 5 minutes. The paste should turn slightly golden but not brown.
  3. Add the watercress, stir to incorporate, and then pour over the chicken stock so it just covers the vegetables. Top up with water if necessary.
  4. Bring the soup to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  5. Blend the soup in batches. Here’s where you can freeze it for later or heat it up, then check seasoning and serve.
  6. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream or pesto or both if you like.

Serves 6.

[edited on 20 Apr 2009 11.10 am to include method. My apologies for the ditzy moment.]

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