Cold Cream of Watercress Soup

Total Time:
45 min
15 min
30 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 leeks, white parts only, thoroughly washed and chopped
  • 3 bunches watercress, thoroughly washed, leaves separated from stems, stems chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 5 medium baking potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup creme fraiche or 1/2 cup each heavy cream and sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Heat a large saucepan with olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and the watercress stems only and saute until wilted, about 10 minutes.

  • Add the chicken stock and potatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath by partially filling your largest mixing bowl with ice cubes and water.

  • In batches to avoid overfilling and splattering, ladle the soup into a blender or food processor, adding some of the creme fraiche and watercress leaves with each batch and reserving about 2 dozen whole leaves for a garnish. Puree each batch and transfer to a fine-meshed strainer held over a large mixing bowl that fits inside the ice water bath, using a rubber spatula to press the puree through the strainer. Taste the puree, adjust the seasonings, if necessary, with more salt and pepper, and stir in the lemon juice.

  • Place the bowl of soup inside the ice water bath and chill it until cool, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Remove the bowl of soup from the ice water bath, dry its underside, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

  • Before serving, taste the soup. If it is too thick, thin it with a little cold milk, chicken stock, or water, to a thick, creamy consistency. Adjust the seasonings, if necessary. Ladle into chilled bowls and decoratively garnish each serving with a few of the reserved watercress leaves.

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