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Watercress Soup

Here is what Elise Bauer from Simply Recipes had to say about this recipe. "Watercress can often be found, when in season, in the herb section of the grocery store. The bunches should be thick-stemmed, and the leaves should have a strong, peppery bite to them. The delicate, thin-stemmed baby watercress that some markets carry is not appropriate for this soup. Have you ever had watercress? The real kind with thick stems and a spicy bite? They sell some aquaculture baby watercress at Whole Foods, but I refuse to buy it because to me it's not the real stuff. Watercress shouldn't be delicate, it should pack a punch. (Meijer has some good watercress.) This watercress soup has a potato base and is topped with just a little sour cream."

Serves 6-8


3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups white or yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 cups water
6 cups fresh watercress, about 1/2 pound, chopped, stems included
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup half & half or cream
1/4 cup gin
3 tablespoons brown roux (see note)
About 6 tablespoons sour cream, stirred in, or for garnish


In a large pot, heat the butter until frothy, and then cook the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Salt the onions to taste as they cook. Add the wine and stock, potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

Add the watercress to the pot. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour the soup in batches into a blender and transfer the blended soup to a clean pot.

Add salt to taste, and then add the black pepper. You can either stir the sour cream into the whole batch of soup, or serve a tablespoon in the center of each person's bowl. I prefer the latter.

Note: I use Yukon gold potatoes but russets are okay. I made a roux with 3 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons flour stirring constantly in sauce pan until nutty brown, then stirred it into the puréed soup to add depth of flavor and thicken it a little. This freezes well and can also be served cold.