Fertiliser soup – soupe de cresson

Inspiration arrives from the strangest of places. This time, it came from watching a super cute animation on YouTube. In the clip, a boy tells a story about a soup his grandmother makes. He doesn’t like it. It’s green and it smells bad, he begins the story. He refuses to eat it, despite his grandparents’ insistent that it will help him grow. Or perhaps because of it. No, I’m not going to spoil the story for you. You’ll just have to watch it yourself.

I’ve been craving a fertilizer soup of my own ever since. Then, another inspiration struck when I saw beautiful watercress at the market on Saturday. So, I made myself a bowl of watercress soup, bright green, zingy, just delicious.

Fertilizersoup

Watercress Soup
La soupe à l’engrais

125g (4oz, or 3 loosely packed cups) watercress, leafs only, no stems
1 medium onion, diced
5 dl (2 cups) chicken broth
2 thick slices of bread, trimmed and toasted
2.5 dl (1 cup) cream
2 tbsp butter

It’s a bit tricky, making a watercress soup. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with bitter, astringent soup that would make even the most ardent fan of watercress cringe. And you can’t cook it too much, or the bright green color would turn into a dark, depressing shade of gray – a whole other kind of fertilizer that neither you nor I like.

I make my watercress soup by only cooking half the amount of the watercress. I start with a base of caramelized onions – cook the onion dices low and slow with butter to caramel-y gooey goodness. Then add half the amount of the watercress and a bit of salt, and saute until wilted, for a couple of minutes.

The next to go in are toasted bread, flavorful chicken broth and a bit of salt. Bring this to a boil and add the cream. Give it a taste and add salt or pepper if needed. Then I pour the bubbling, boiling liquid into the blender which I’ve already filled with the rest of the watercress leafs, letting the hot liquid finish the cooking for us. Blend until smooth. I love to serve the soup with a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt. A spoonful of mascapone works well too if you like to add a little sweetness.

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  • jeff

    If you want to keep the soup brilliant green, add a pinch (1/8tsp or thereabouts) of ascorbic acid (vitamin c).

  • http://www.rasamalaysia.com Rasa Malaysia

    How pretty, love that watercress on the soup. Slurp…I wonder if a little ginger might make it better because I once had a very good soup (similar but pumpkin) at Fringale in SOMA (used to work there) and it was awesome. Are they still in business???

  • http://www.watercress.com andy brown

    I love your recipe. We are a watercress farming family…since 1870.
    May we use your recipe on our website, http://www.watercress.com?

  • http://cookingfromatoz.blogspot.com Kaykat

    This rocks! I love watercress, but have never tried it in a soup – can’t wait to experiment now. And I really like Jeff’s idea of preserving the colour with Vitamin C.

  • http://lovefirstbite.blogspot.com Love_at_first_bite

    That looks absolutely divine Pim!

  • Luna Raven

    The soup sounds lovely and the video was indeed very cute. Thank you for sharing!