Local Watercress Soup

Serve 4 to 6

Like potato-leek soup, watercress soup is subtle tasting, and to my taste, delicious in its mellowness. I love the fresh flavor, and green color. Adding fresh spinach at the end is a trick to keep the soup a bright green - but if you don't have any spinach now, don't worry. If you happen to have any small edible lawn violets which also come up this time of year, they make a nice garnish on the soup.

1 onion, diced
2 leeks, all parts, washed and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water or chicken stock
2 medium potatoes (about 2 cups), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons parsley
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
5 cups watercress (about 2 large bunches), rinsed, trimmed of tough stems and lightly packed
2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional; often I don't use any)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Sauté the onion and leeks in butter in a soup pot until soft, about 10 minutes.2. Add the water or stock, potatoes, parsley, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil,
    cover, lower heat. Simmer about 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add watercress, cover, and cook another 5 minutes.3. Remove the bay leaves. Puree the soup completely in a blender in batches, adding half of the fresh spinach to each batch. Reheat the soup in the pot, and swirl in the cream, if using. Adjust salt by gradually adding more until the soup is as flavorful as possible (this soup needs a good amount of salt) and add pepper.



By Catherine Walthers
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