- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 russet potatoes, washed, peeled and diced
- 2 leeks – tough outer green leaves removed, washed and chopped
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 ½ pints chicken stock
- Salt and white pepper
- 6 oz. watercress, washed and chopped.
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Shamrock croutons:
- Shamrock shaped cookie cutter
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- 4 tsps. butter
- 1/2 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven heat olive oil and butter over a moderate heat. Add the onion, potatoes and leeks. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Stir in the chopped watercress until it wilts. Add the cream and nutmeg.
- Remove from the heat, let soup cool. Puree using a hand blender, blender or food processor.. Adjust seasoning and warm before serving.
- Shamrock croutons:
- Use the cookie cutter to cut out shamrock shapes.
- Butter one side of the shamrock crouton.
- Toast under a broiler or toaster oven on toast setting.
- Remove from the heat, turn the crouton over and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese.
- Return to the broiler or toaster oven -- cheese side up -- until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.
- Ladle warmed soup into bowls. Place the shamrock crouton on top.
Photo courtesy of Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board.
Warm up after the chilly St. Patrick’s Day parade with this hearty, watercress and potato soup with festive shamrock croutons. Watercress is a semiaquatic plant with a peppery flavor that has been eaten in Ireland for centuries. It was one of the foods given as tribute to Irish kings. Ireland’s second best known saint, Saint Brendan — who according to legend discoverd North America — was said to have subsisted on watercress. If the vegetable provided Saint Brendan with the stamina to cross the rough Atlantic it will surely provide enough energy to get through a weekend of Paddy’s Day activities. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
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