Watercress Soup

Watercress Soup

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Watercress soup made with onions, potatoes, a little white wine and bunches of fresh watercress.

Photography Credit:Elise Bauer

One of my earliest memories as a kid was my father taking the family out on excursions to Antelope Valley, about an hour and a half outside of Los Angeles where we lived.

We used to go out there to pick pears, look at the jack rabbits, and just wander around the rugged terrain.

There was a creek that ran along where we would hike, and in this creek grew watercress. It was rather miraculous to my six year old brain that we could find what we often ate for salad, growing over boulders, in and around tumbling and churning creek water.

“Well that’s why they call it ‘water’ cress,” explained my dad.

We loved it then, and still do now, though it seems to be more difficult to find in the market these days.

Have you ever had watercress? The real kind with thick stems and a spicy bite?

They sell some aquaculture baby watercress at Whole Foods, but I refuse to buy it because to me it’s not the real stuff. Watercress shouldn’t be delicate, it should pack a punch.

It’s great in a salad with a hot bacon dressing. It also makes a terrific soup. This watercress soup has a potato base and is topped with just a little sour cream.

Watercress Soup Recipe

Watercress can often be found, when in season, in the herb section of the grocery store. The bunches should be thick-stemmed, and the leaves should have a strong, peppery bite to them. The delicate, thin-stemmed baby watercress that some markets carry is not appropriate for this soup.


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups white or yellow onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 cup white wine, chicken stock, or vegetable stock (wine or veg stock for vegetarian version)
  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 6 cups fresh watercress, about 1/2 pound, chopped, stems included
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • About 6 tablespoons sour cream, stirred in, or for garnish


1 Cook the onions: In a large pot, heat the butter until frothy, then cook the onions over medium heat until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Salt the onions as they cook.

2 Add potatoes, wine/stock, simmer: Add the wine or stock, potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.

3 Add watercress: Add the watercress to the pot. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.

4 Purée the soup: Turn off the heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, pour the soup in batches into a blender and transfer the blended soup to a clean pot. Be careful when blending hot liquids to only fill the bowl a third of the way, and to hold down the blender's lid while you purée the soup.

5 Season and garnish to serve: Add salt to taste, then add the black pepper. You can either stir the sour cream into the whole batch of soup, or serve a tablespoon in the center of each person's bowl.

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Vietnamese Meatball and Watercress Soup (Canh)

&ldquoThis refreshing supper is a take on canh, a type of quick, brothy Vietnamese soup. The soup (pronounced KUN) can be sour, rich with vegetables, [or] loaded with seafood. But whatever variety, the unifying factor is simplicity. Our version stays true to the simplicity, but scales up the ingredients so this can serve as a satisfying meal on its own. Watercress adds a peppery note look for &ldquolive&rdquo watercress, which is packaged with its roots attached. It stays fresher longer and is easier to clean. To prep it, trim off and discard the roots, rinse and drain the greens, then cut them into 1 1/2-inch lengths, discarding any stems that are thick or tough. If you prefer, substitute an equal amount of baby spinach for the watercress, but roughly chop the leaves before using. We also liked this soup made with chicken bouillon paste instead of chicken broth use 2 tablespoons of paste dissolved in 2 quarts of water.&rdquo&mdashJames Beard Award nominee Christopher Kimball


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 6 scallions, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced and reserved separately
  • 1 lightly beaten large egg white
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 4 thinly sliced medium garlic cloves
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bunch cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths watercress (4 cups lightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (1 or 2 limes)


Prepare the meatballs: line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and mist with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the pork, scallion whites, egg white, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, 2 teaspoons of the ginger, kosher salt, and white pepper. Mix with your hands. Lightly moisten your hands with water and form into 20 balls, each about a generous tablespoon. Set on the prepared baking sheet, cover and refrigerate. Don't leave the meatballs at room temperature after shaping them. Chilling firms them so they hold together when added to the simmering broth.

Prepare the soup: in a large Dutch oven over medium, heat the oil until simmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of the ginger and the garlic, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth and bring to a boil over high. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the onion is fully softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the meatballs, then bring to a simmer over medium-high. Reduce the heat to maintain the simmer and cook undisturbed until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes they should reach 160°F at the center. Take the soup off the heat and stir in the watercress and the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Let the soup stand until the greens are wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the scallion greens.

Excerpted from: Milk Street: Tuesday Nights (Little, Brown and Company, 2018). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Connie Miller.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth or vegetable broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 8 cups chopped watercress, any tough stems removed, plus 1/2 cup leaves for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh horseradish (see Note) or prepared horseradish, or to taste
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 slices day-old sourdough bread, crusts removed, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese (Optional)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables start to soften and brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk 1 cup broth and flour in a small bowl until completely smooth. Set aside. Add the remaining 3 cups broth and salt to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring often, until the onion is very tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir chopped watercress into the pot and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, add the flour mixture and horseradish. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, 1 to 3 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender in batches until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Return to the pot, stir in half-and-half and season with pepper keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring often, until golden and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle soup into 4 bowls. Garnish with the breadcrumbs, watercress leaves and blue cheese, if desired.

Ingredient note: Look for fresh horseradish root in the produce section of well-stocked supermarkets. Peel with a paring knife or vegetable peeler before grating.

The base

Denis Cotter's watercress soup

Potatoes are a popular ingredient in many soups, acting as a thickener only Blanc and Grigson eschew them. While I love spuds, I think the pair are right here – they have a surprisingly assertive flavour, a kind of lingering starchiness that seems at odds with the fresh, green character of the watercress. Welcome in cold weather, less so here.

Grigson uses flour instead, in keeping with the teachings of the great Larousse Gastronomique, which starts all its cream soups with a white roux. I think this works very well: the flavour of the flour is far subtler than that of the potato, but it gives the soup a similarly satisfying texture.

  1. In a large pot, heat oil add pork and brown.
  2. Add chicken broth and water and boil.
  3. Add Hawaiian salt, long rice, and watercress.
  4. Continue to boil until long rice and watercress are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add more water and salt, if needed.

Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving:
380 calories, 27 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 750 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 23 g protein

Pork Watercress Soup

Mckenna Maduli has been the “it girl” lately hosting her TV show Talk Story and also a handful of live specials. McKenna is very talented and a super producer not just hosting but producing and editing her show. In her free time she has a home decor line called “My hale sweet hale”. Check out her website halesweethale.net and support her small local business. She has been around the music industry here in Hawaii since she was a kid because her father is Kata Maduli a well know musician here in Hawaii. A lady of many talents! This week she joins us with one of her favorite recipes Pork Watercress Soup.

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Watercress soup recipe

Maman Blanc never used stock for soups. She believed that if the main ingredients are fresh enough, they should provide all the flavour you need. This recipe proves her point. The peppery watercress taste is the star of this soup, and its vivid bright green colour is like spring in a bowl.

Ingredients Required


To serve (optional)

Cooking Method

Step 1

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.

Add the onion and sweat gently for 3–5 minutes until softened and translucent.

The sweating process will convert the natural starches present in the onion into sugars, enhancing the flavour of the soup.

Step 2

Turn up the heat, add the watercress and spinach and wilt for 2 minutes.

Watercress varies in its intensity of flavour. If your watercress is very peppery, cut off the entire stalk, but if it is mild, retain some of the stalk.

Step 3

Add the boiling water, season with the salt and pepper, and boil for 2 minutes only. Adding boiling water speeds up the cooking of the watercress and spinach, retaining the colour, flavour and vitamins.

Season early on to allow the salt to permeate the ingredients, but do so sparingly and allow for the pepperiness of the watercress. You can always add more later.

Step 4

Remove from the heat and immediately add the ice to stop the cooking process. This helps to retain the vivid colour of the watercress, as well as its texture, taste and nutrients.

Purée the soup in a blender until very smooth. You may need to do this in a few batches.

Re-heat at the last moment, then taste and correct the seasoning.

Serve immediately in a warmed tureen or individual bowls topped with a spoonful of crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt.

RAF Wives & Princess Diana’s recipes.

My husband Tim is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church, in early 1985 he became the Air Training Corps Chaplain in Sheffield. A close friend who was an Air Training Corps Officer was visiting the RAF Finningley Airbase in South Yorkshire where he met the Assistant Principal Chaplain and they spoke at length about Tim’s work. The Assistant Chaplain then drove all the way to Sheffield to meet with Tim and eventually invited him to become a British Royal Air Force Chaplain.

Tim accepted the job offer and his first station was RAF Wittering where the Harrier Jets were based, we all packed up and moved to live on base. This was where Princess Diana was the Honorary Air Commodore!

My husband met her on a Royal visit. He said she was down to earth and wanted no fuss even though she had a bad cold.

Later, during our time at Wittering, the officers wives got together to make a recipe book of all their favourite recipes. Diana happily contributed her own favourite recipe for Watercress Soup - which as you can see is highly nutritious.

The book was sold in aid of the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund (now CLIC Sargent), and for children of our local Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen’s Families Association (the SSAFA), which was based nearby in Peterborough.

I have made this recipe for dinner parties many a time since, and it is lovely. Refreshing. And it can be made in advance - a great starter.

I hope you enjoy making it too.

Honorary Royal Air Force Commodore: HRH The Princess of Wales

We are so lucky to live in an age of film and photography, as I have managed to find old footage of a visit from Diana to RAF Wittering on YouTube! Listen closely to how the newsreaders highlight lots of details on Diana’s Catherine Walker outfit. Isn’t it funny how we were just as obsessed with royal style even then? I wonder if Victoria’s generation were the same…

All-time top ten watercress recipes

You can make hundreds of dishes with watercress, from pesto for pasta to warming soups, there’s no need to go hunting through the site for the all time most popular watercress recipes - they are all here in one place. You can use the whole watercress plant in these recipes, including the stalks, so there’s no wastage. If you need help preparing watercress, have a quick look at our Cooking & Eating Watercress FAQ. The good news is that watercress is good for you whether it is raw or cooked, so if you’re in the market for a reliable watercress recipe, you’re in the right place.

By far our most popular recipe, this simple sauce can add an extra dimension to a huge variety of dishes and is the go-to watercress recipe. Try it with fish, chicken or pasta!

There are a huge number of watercress soup recipes for you to choose from, but if you’re looking for some quick and simple inspiration, this is the one for you. Ideal at lunchtime or as a starter.

The ideal accompaniment to pasta and a host of other dishes, this pesto has a strong peppery taste with less bitterness and in-your-face pungency than a traditional basil one. Not only that, but it’s packed full of the goodness that is found in watercress delicious AND nutritious!

This risotto has a fresh taste with a silky consistency. It’s a satisfying bowl of food for very little effort, and we’re sure it’s one that the whole family will enjoy.

Oils can enhance many dishes, and this one brings a fresh zesty flavour and smell to salads and soups. It also adds dramatic colour and vibrancy.


  1. Nazilkree

    I congratulate, your thinking simply excellent

  2. Aloeus

    I think, what is it excellent idea.

  3. Almund

    Yes, let's see

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