But boo hoo: the case of watercress purchased for one whole buck is gone.
It's been quite an odyssey -- two salads, two relishes and a sandwich and a soup plus a mistake and a few others hidden behind the screen.
But there's no experimenting with watercress without returning to an old favorite, watercress soup.
Some years ago, I served it for a childhood friend and her toddler. She is a nutritionist and was galled that her son would touch nothing remotely green -- and so was amazed when he lapped up a bowl of watercress soup and then asked for more!
Mostly, I keep this a simple soup, tasty and flavorful and nutritious and perfect middle-of-winter or cool-spring-day comfort food. That said, the inspiring recipe calls for sour cream and whole milk and suggests sauteed scallops -- this version is over-the-top delicious.
CULINARY REVELATION Leek recipes always read 'white and green parts only'. So for years, I've cut the leek where the light green part stopped and thrown away everything else. But -- here's the revelation: if you peel away the outer tough outer leaves, the stuff that you're ready to throw away, inside there's tons more sweet and tender 'light green' stuff!
FROM THE ARCHIVES For piles and piles of other nutrious soup ideas, see here in the Recipe Box but I'm especially fond of this broccoli cheddar chowder with potatoes and this East African Pea Soup with sweet potatoes.
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Hands-on time: about 20 minutes
Time to table: about an hour (sorry, lost track of time)
Makes 8 cups
8 cups chicken broth (8 cups = 68 ounces, I've also used a 49-ounce can)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (dropped from 4 tablespoons)
6 leeks, white and pale green parts, about 6 cups (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, diced
8 ounces watercress, coarse stems trimmed, chopped
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup whole milk
Sea scallops cooked til golden in a bit of oil
Bring the broth to a boil in the microwave. (This is a time-saving tip that can be skipped if you're in no rush. The broth I used was frozen solid and I put it straight into the pot.)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter on MEDIUM and saute the leeks until soft. Stir in the potato to coat with fat. Add the broth and return to a boil. Cover and let simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 30 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the watercress, cover and let stand for about 5 minutes or until the watercress wilts. Puree with an immersion blender or a regular blender (in batches, filling the blender no more than 1/3 - 1/2 full and holding the lid tightly to prevent the hot liquid from exploding all over). Serve and enjoy.
With optional ingredients: Return to heat, add sour cream and milk and heat til very hot but do not allow to boil. Transfer to bowls and top withscallops.
As pictured, without sour cream, milk and scallops, Per Cup: 128 Cal (12% from Fat, 18% from Protein, 70% from Carb); 6 g Protein; 2 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 24 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb22; 83 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 599 mg Sodium; 4 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points
With sour cream and milk, assumes 8 servings: 187 Cal (31% from Fat, 16% from Protein, 53% from Carb); 8 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 26 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb24; 105 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 625 mg Sodium; 17 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 4 points
With sour cream, milk and 16 scallops, assumes 8 servings: 240 Cal (26% from Fat, 29% from Protein, 45% from Carb); 18 g Protein; 7 g Tot Fat; 4 g Sat Fat; 27 g Carb; 2 g Fiber; NetCarb25; 120 mg Calcium; 2 mg Iron; 722 mg Sodium; 36 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 5 points
- How to clean leeks -- see here
- When you see this ◄ in the title and the Recipe Box, you know the recipe's a personal favorite. Tastes vary, of course, but the mark is one indication of another vegetable recipe that's worth paying attention to.
Adapted from Bon Appetit December 1999