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Creamy Watercress Soup
“Classic steakhouse flavors—horseradish, watercress and blue cheese—are combined in this pureed soup. The spicy, bold flavor of watercress pairs well with the rich flavor of beef, so we use beef broth as the base for the soup. Vegetable broth works, too, if you want to make a vegetarian version. ”
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 ½ cup leaves for garnish
2 tablespoons shredded fresh horseradish (see Note) or prepared horseradish, or to taste
1Heat 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.
2Stir 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.
3Puree 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.
4Heat 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.
5Ladle 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.