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Appetizers, Soups, Vegetarian

Watercress and Stilton soup

Watercress and Stilton soup
Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Back before mesclun started to seem as everyday as iceberg lettuce, watercress was in my salad spinner about as often as Grey Poupon was in my vinaigrette. The little green leaves had the peppery kick of then-exotic arugula but were ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour | Serves 4 to 6
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium leeks, white parts only, washed well and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 baking potatoes, peeled, quartered
  • 2 bunches watercress, washed, tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
  • 2-3 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled
  • A few sprigs watercress
  • Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish

Step 1Melt the butter in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 8 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the potatoes are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the watercress and cook until wilted but bright green, 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 2Carefully transfer to a blender or food processor in batches and puree until smooth. Strain through a coarse sieve into a clean saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.

Step 3Stir in half-and-half and cheese until the cheese is melted. Adjust the seasoning. Garnish with sprigs of watercress and pecans.

Note: Adapted from "In the Hands of a Chef" by Jody Adams and Ken Rivard (Morrow, 2002).

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