Watercress is a light leafy vegetable known for its light peppery flavor, and is used in salads, tea sandwiches, soups, and as a light garnish on roast suppers. Related to the radish and mustard, the flavor of watercress is a tad lighter than its bolder cousins, which makes it ideal for delicate preparations. This herbaceous green can be found on the table at all hours of the day, from breakfast straight through dinner.
This simple chilled soup makes total use of the watercress's flavor, which is gently supported by a russet potato and some sautéed leeks. Blanching the green before adding them to the soup can remove some of the bitterness, and make the final simmer go a tad faster.
In my opinion, a chilled soup of this variety should be pureed smooth, but it's all up to taste. This soup is absolutely delicious served warm and chunky as well—and if you're serving it warm, try adding a few bits of crumbled blue cheese. Chilled, a garnish of chopped chives is much ore appropriate.
- Yield:Serves 4
- Active time: 25 minutes
- Total time:1 hour, plus time to chill
- 2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 russet potato, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 3 small or 1 large leek, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 quart (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Finely sliced chives
In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the watercress for 30 seconds then drain. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the watercress.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add sliced leek and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add grated potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are soft, about 12 minutes, then add watercress.
Allow to cool to room temperature, then puree in batches. Whisk in cream. Allow to chill in the refrigerator, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve cold garnished with finely sliced chives.