Try this very simple, rich-tasting puree of
vegetables, which tastes delicious with or without milk added. The
watercress is a spunky presence which gives the soup a peppery
edge. Go ahead and make this several days ahead of time. It keeps
and reheats beautifully.
* This soup is lowfat and possibly vegan (if
you use oil and soymilk).
* The vegetable quantities are somewhat flexible, so don't worry
if you don't have exact amounts.
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 medium-sized leek (1-inch diameter), cleaned and chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
3 to 4 fist-sized potatoes (peeling is optional), cut into small
4 cups water
2 large cloves garlic, peeled
2 large bunches fresh watercress, chopped (about 2 cups loosely
1 cup milk (can be lowfat or soy), at
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sour cream and/or thin strips of red bell pepper for garnish
- Melt the butter
or heat the oil in a soup pot or a Dutch oven. Add the leek,
mushrooms, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté for about 10 minutes
over medium heat.
- Add the
potatoes and garlic cloves, and pour in the water. Sprinkle in
another 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, partially cover, and
lower heat to a simmer until the potatoes are very tender. Remove
- Puree the soup
in a blender or a food processer (or directly in the pot with a
hand blender). Add the watercress, bit-by-bit, as you purÚe,
until it is all incorporated and the soup is smooth. Taste to
- You can serve
this hot, at room temperature, or cold. If you're serving it hot,
reheat the soup gently just before serving. stirring in the
optional milk at the end. If you are serving this room temperature
or chilled, add the milk at any time.
- Top the soup
with a grind or two of fresh black pepper, a little sour cream and
thin strips of red bell pepper, if desired, for a nicely finished