Its spring and our ponds at home are starting to fill up with watercress again so I thought, perfect opportunity to share this watercress soup recipe.
Watercress is being referred to as the ‘new super food’. You will find watercress being used everywhere these days. You buy it in the supermarket already pre-washed and packed in plastic bags; it sits on sandwiches in your local cafe and is served next to gourmet food in restaurants. I even saw a celebrity chef singing its praises the other day on TV. Of course they were right watercress contains minerals and antioxidants so yes it is defiantly a super food but there is certainly nothing new about it. Watercress has been around forever. It is native to Britain and you will find it growing wild in many parts of the country. It was first cultivated commercially in 1808 by William Bradbery on the banks of the river Ebbsfleet in Kent. With the opening of the Mid Hants railway (nicknamed the Watercress Line) in 1865, watercress was able to be transported in bulk to London where it was sold by street vendors. The most popular way of eating it was between too slices of bread, but the poor couldn’t always afford the bread and would eat the watercress by its self, providing them with some needed nutrition. This gave the watercress the common name ‘Poor man’s bread’. Watercress is still produced commercially in Britain in Hertfordshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset.
It is not recommended that you pick watercress from the wild especially if you are going to eat it raw in salads. Wild watercress often harbours liver fluke a parasite known to be carried by freshwater snails, deer, cattle and mainly sheep. The eggs of the parasite are on the watercress which are then eaten by sheep and other animals and are passed back to the watercress by their droppings and encysts in the cress. This can also be passed on to humans when they eat it. The fluke lives in the liver and causes savvier abdominal pain and is very difficult to treat. If you don’t have a guaranteed clean source then I recommend that you buy the watercress from the shop.
Anyway try this recipe. The only indulgence is the cream but what is wrong with a little indulgence?
- 2 potatoes (peeled and sliced)
- 2 onions (finely chopped)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 400 ml Vegetable stock
- 200 g (about 3 bunches) of watercress
- 100 ml double cream
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic until the onions are translucent.
- Add the potato and stock and simmer until the potato is soft. Chop and add the watercress and simmer for a further 3 to 4 minutes.
- Using a hand blender, liquidise the soup until smooth.
- Add 50 ml of the cream and then season to taste.
- Serve with a swirl of the remaining cream.