Watercress soup

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Watercress soup is smooth and creamy: blended onion, potatoes, watercress, stock and milk, lightly flavoured with a bay leaf. Watercress is a member of the mustard family and has a distinctive peppery flavour that makes them natural bedfellows to strongly flavoured meats such as game. The leaves are most commonly served raw as a garnish to eggs or meat, or as part of a salad with orange segments. Many benefits from eating watercress are claimed, such as that it acts as a stimulant, a source of phytochemicals and antioxidants, a diuretic, an expectorant, and a digestive aid. It also appears to have antiangiogenic cancer-suppressing properties. Watercress is available all year round but is at its best from April until September. Watercress is highly perishable, so store it in a perforated bag in the fridge and eat it within a couple of days. Alternatively, treat it like a bunch of flowers and put in a glass of water in the fridge, covering the leaves with a plastic bag – it can last a little longer that way. Watercress soup is delicious served chilled in summer. After puréeing, pour the soup into a large bowl, then cover, cool and chill for at least 3 hours. Taste for seasoning before serving.

Ingredients:

30 g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 potatoes,coarsely chopped

125 g watercress, tough stalks removed

900 ml chicken or vegetable stock

300 ml milk

1 bay leaf

salt and black pepper

single cream to garnish

watercress soup

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion, and cook gently, stirring from time to time, for a few minutes until soft but not coloured.

Add the potatoes and the watercress to the saucepan and cook for about 5 minutes until the watercress is wilted. Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and milk, add the bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to boil, cover, and then simmer very gently for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Purée the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Return the soup to the rinsed-out pan, reheat, then taste for seasoning.

Serve immediately, garnished with a little single cream.