Friday, 16 May 2008

Spring watercress soup

Here’s another product of our trip to the watercress festival at Alresford last weekend: watercress soup. But first, here is a picture of the lovely Alresford itself which I’d forgotten I’d taken:

Watercress soup has had a bit of a bad press over the years as it’s one of the faddy weight-loss foods you subsist on until you’re nothing bit a bit of green string yourself. I made a nice watercress, pea, asparagus and courgette soup last year which was much more substantial though, and just sang ‘spring’. I was going to go for that again with my Alresford cress, but then I saw a recipe which was actually called ‘spring soup’ while flicking through Moosewood Low Fat Favourites and incorporated some of their flavours too. In particular, theirs also had carrot in it, and some pasta which I liked the sound of. I used edamame beans instead of their lima beans (I never knew until last week that edamame beans are the same as soya beans). Their soup was a brothy one, but I quite like nice thick soups (and wasn’t sure how appetising bits of watercress would be) so I cooked the pasta separately, blended the soup, and then added the pasta to it at the end. I meant to cook one person’s worth, but ended up with three good portions, so so much for my maths! The recipe is very rough – just use what you have! It wasn’t the most photogenic soup in the world but it tasted really good – nice and fresh but good and filling. In fact I had to go and collapse for a bit after eating a bowl, so it’s definitely not in the stringy water category – though still nice and healthy.

Spring watercress soup (adapted from Moosewood Low Fat Favourites)

Made three portions

1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Half an onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and diced
½ tsp dried thyme [of course, you could use fresh herbs – just double the quantity]
½ tsp dried basil
1/8 cup of water
3 cups stock
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup edamame beans [the original recipe was for butter beans, and they also used green peas. I decided I had enough veggies already]
Half a bundle or so of asparagus. [they say cut into 1-inch lengths. I chopped them much smaller since I was going to blitz it, and reserved the tips which I steamed separately and added to the finished soup]
Handful of small pasta shapes – I used little stars
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp lemon juice
Handful watercress, chopped [I didn’t use the stems though I thought later that I probably could have done]

In a covered soup pot on a low heat, cook the garlic, onion, carrot, thyme and basil in the water until the veggies have softened – about 10 mins. Add the stock and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the beans, asparagus and watercress and return to a boil. Cook until soft, adding the salt and lemon juice about half way through. In a separate pot cook the pasta until al dente. Blitz up the soup using a hand-held blender, and then add the pasta. Serve hot.

No comments: