Have you any idea how good watercress is for you? In sheer nutritional density, it beats even spinach. Besides its delicious, especially in soup. The recipe below emerged from my weekly attempt to empty my refrigerator before going to buy the upcoming week’s grocery. As a result it contains half an onion, a bunch of watercress and spinach, cilantro stems, two leaks and half a boiled potato. As you can imagine, the ingredients are highly flexible: any leftover greens and some type of oniony entity will do, although watercress is nice. The soup is very light and fresh tasting, but you can make it richer by substituting half a cup of water with milk or cream. Also, I usually use Better than Bouillon which is a paste version of a bouillon cube, but much nicer tasting. If you prefer, substitute vegetable or chicken broth.
2 tbs. vegetable oil
1 tbs. butter
1 tsp fennel
1/2 onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 leeks, washed and sliced into thin rounds (these were very slender and yielded about 3/4 cup)
1 bunch watercress, washed, roots trimmed (keep slender stems)
About 1/2 lb baby spinach leaves, rinsed
1 tbs. Better than Bouillon vegetable base
3 cups water (you can substitute the water and the bouillon with chicken stock)
1/2 a boiled potato (cubed, optional)
Salt and pepper to taste.
1. In a medium (5 qt or so) sized pot, heat the oil and butter. When hot, add the fennel seeds and saute briefly till the seeds release their aroma.
2. Add the leaks and onions and saute for 5-7 min until softened.
3. Add the cilantro stems and saute for a few minutes.
4. Then add the watercress and spinach, mix throughly and place a tight fitting lid on your soup pot. This will cause the leaves to lose their volume.
5. Now add the bouillon and mix throughly. Then add the water. Taste the salt, adding more if necessary.
6. Cover and simmer at low heat for 10 min. till all the leaves are soft. Add the potato, if using.
7. Puree using a stick blender until completely smooth. This is preferable to using a food processor since the stick blender aerates the soup better and makes it lighter.