Irish Watercress Soup

March 15, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States is best known for the table top spread of corned beef, cabbage, and generous glasses of Guinness.  While my family does enjoy this time-honored meal (I am curing my own brisket for the occasion as we speak), there are many other dishes that can also serve to mark the day.  This year, I made Irish Watercress Soup in addition to the standard fare .

Watercress first came into my awareness while reading the children’s classic, Trumpet of the Swan.  Reportedly, it is one of the oldest known leaf vegetables to play a role in the human diet.  It comes from the same family, Brassicas, as broccoli and mustard, and the same genus as nasturtiums. The peppery bite is very reminiscent, though milder than the spicy taste of nasturtium flowers.  Blended into a traditional potato leek soup, it imparts a beautiful green color and bright peppery flavor.  This soup has a rich taste, despite being vegetable based and fairly low-fat.  It is hardy enough to serve as a main dish with a side salad and crusty bread.

Irish Watercress Soup

adapted from multiple sources

serves 8

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 leeks, washed and diced

1 large onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 quart broth (chicken or vegetable)

1 quart milk (I used low-fat, but you can up the fat content if you want a richer soup)

3 bunches watercress, washed

salt and pepper

Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat.  Saute the leeks, onion, and garlic until translucent and soft.  Do not brown.  Season with salt.

Add the broth and potatoes.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 20 minutes).  Add milk and watercress.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Blend soup using an immersion blender or counter top blender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve with crusty bread.

Note: Soup can be made one day ahead.  Cool, cover, and refrigerate, then reheat when desired.

Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe: Irish Watercress Soup

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Corned Beef

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2 Responses to “Irish Watercress Soup”


  1. [...] by Karen W. of My Pantry Shelf [...]


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