Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Watercress Soup

Here in central Pennsylvania, it's been pretty dreary.  I religiously check the forecast, getting excited for sunny days, only to be disappointed when the forecast is changed to rain almost.every.day.  Somehow, though, our trees are starting to flower, the daffodils are stubbornly yellow, and watercress is starting to appear. 

I buy my watercress at the market stand where I purchase our beef and pork.  Their watercress is wild, it comes back every year, growing near their natural spring.  After a little research (read: wiki), I discovered that watercress is basically a superfood.  It has high levels of iron, calcium, and folic acid.  It contains cancer-fighting properties and is touted as anything from a digestive aid, to expectorant, and stimulant.  Go here to learn more. 

Next week I'll be investigating the best way to make a watercress sandwich, but this week called for soup. 

Last year, my mom's friend brought us her famous watercress soup.  I raved about it here.  I've kept her recipe in my inbox since last May.  Basically, the soup is a tasty cream of potato soup with wilted and pureed watercress leaves.  All I'll say is that Emma ate three bowls. 

I guess playing teacher makes her hungry!

and sleepy

Back to the soup.....

The process is simple -

Step 1: Cook diced potatoes and onions in 3T of butter

Step 2: Add milk and broth and cook until potatoes are tender.  My mixture sort of overflowed from neglect - hence the dirty pot.  I then pureed the potatoes, broth and milk with my immersion blender.  

Step 3: Add watercress leaves and cook briefly until leaves are wilted.   The recipe says four minutes - I didn't cook mine long enough. 

 Step 4: Lastly, puree watercress leaves and enjoy!

This is the recipe I was given -

Watercress soup--Chef Darine Allen of Ballymore Cooking School, county Cork, Ireland
Legend has it that it was watercress that enabled St. Brendan to live to the ripe age of 180!
3 T sweet (unsalted) butter
1 1/4 c potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 c yellow onion, chopped finely
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 1/2 c chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 1/2 c milk
2  bunches chopped watercress (remove the coarse stalks)
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan When it foams, add the potatoes and onions and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover the pan and sweat the vegetables over low heat for 10  min. Add the stock and milk, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes and onions are soft. 
Add the watercress and boil with the lid off for approximately 4 minutes until the watercress is cooked.  It will taste soft and tender.  Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh green color.
Puree the soup in a blender. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper if necessary.  


  1. Looks delicious, Kirsten! You do realize that if I went to the local grocery and asked for watercress, the kid in produce probably wouldn't know what it was. LOL I'm adding it to my Whole Foods list. I want to try this soup. Thanks for sharing. Happy Tuesday! :o)

  2. Another recipe to file away for winter, it's still way too warm for soup here. It sounds really nice and comforting.

  3. Watercress is not so easy to come by here . I may have to give this one a miss dur to lack of ingredients. (Im thinking I could make devil soup again and just pretend it's watercress!)

  4. I guess I've never looked for watercress here in Iowa-will have to see if the grocery stores carry it or not-we don't have much for farmer's markets (unless we go to DesMoines); the soup looks great-I don't have an immersion blender-is it worth the $$? are they expensive? Thanks for the pics of Emma Lou--priceless! I miss the kiddos! Can't wait for your visit!