Easy Watercress and Garlic Soup
My mum makes delicious and healthy watercress soup using some homemade chicken stock. It’s gluten-free and free of other top nine allergens.
Wonderful Watercress is in Season
I recently read an article that mentioned a list of the most nutrient-dense foods and watercresses listed at #1 for their nutritional value. I wanted to learn more about watercresses’ potential benefits, so I looked for some information.
Over the last eighteen months, I’ve been buying some of our Asian produce (primarily vegetables) from a local farm that delivers directly to my home. I love that the food is so tasty and fresh when purchased in-store during the spring and autumn seasons. But because it’s not in-store, I can get it earlier in the spring and later in the autumn. When I noticed that the farmer was selling watercresses, I knew I wanted to try them. I’ve read that they’re great for us, and I’d like to give them a go. I really liked how the soup turned out!
Watercress in Chinese Cooking
Until recently, I rarely cooked with watercresses. However, since they’re so healthy, I decided to look up some recipes for cooking them. I remembered three different ways I ate watercresses when I was younger.
- Saute and then cook with water
She sautéed some chopped raw onion in olive oil, added the watercress, and briefly boiled it with hot water until tender. Since she used a simple cooking technique, we could enjoy its fresh green flavour.
- Stir fry and then lightly steam with water
A second method for preparing watercresses is to boil them in salted water until tender and then chop them up into bite-sized pieces.
- Add it to a soup
You could cook the soup for two and a half (2½) hours and then add the watercresses at the end of cooking. Because they’re cooked until they’re very soft, I think you might lose some nutrients from them.
My Mashup Watercress Recipe
I made a delicious meal out of my watercress! I started by traditionally preparing the watercress. Then I chopped it up into small bits and cooked them in a little broth until they were tender. Next, I served the watercress alongside a bowl of rice and topped it with a dollop of yoghurt. I was surprised at how much flavour the watercress retained after being boiled in the broth. My partner loved the dish, too!
How to Source and Prepare Watercress for Cooking
Buy fresh watercress
When buying watercress, look for consistently green bunches without any yellowing leaves and avoid bunches that feel hard and stiff.
Swish and rinse the watercress
The top priority for any gardener should be to grow healthy plants. Watercress is an aquatic herbaceous plant (also known as Nasturtium officinale) native to Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, North America and South America.
It grows best in moist soil rich in organic matter and can tolerate drought. Watercress is also easy to propagate from seed; just sow seeds directly into your garden after the last frost date. Watercress is commonly grown as an annual vegetable crop in temperate regions, especially in cooler climates such as Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia, China and northern Europe (Like here in Ireland). It may be grown as a perennial vegetable in warmer areas, although it requires regular watering during dry periods.
First, fill a sizeable nested colander and a wash basin with water and swirl the watercresses to loosen any soil. Then, drain and rinse the colander and wash the basin. After that, put the colander and washbasin back together and let them sit for five to ten minutes. While they’re sitting, pinch off any wilted or damaged parts, check for insects, and cut the watercresses into three to four-inch pieces.
Using nested colanders and washing bowls makes it much easier for me to clean up after cooking. Sometimes I use my Salad Spinner (affiliate links) as a washing basin, and it’s easy for me to pick up the basket with the vegetables and change the water in its container.
Depending on how you intend to use the watercress, chop it appropriately. For example, if you’re going to serve it raw, cut it into smaller bits; for cooking purposes, chop it into larger chunks.
Allergy Aware Watercress & Garlic Soup
This recipe is free of the top eight allergens. Watercress is its main ingredient, but everything else may be swapped for something suitable to your dietary needs and preferences (e.g., if you’re allergic to milk, use almond milk instead). If you cannot eat/drink anything containing gluten, replace the flour with rice flour.
You can use shop-bought stock instead of making it yourself.
Watercress with Garlic Soup
- 1 teaspoon olive oil (or oil seed rape)
- 2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 2 bunches of watercress (approximately 8 ounces) washed & trimmed (3 to 4-inch pieces)
- 4 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- Preheat a medium (3-4 quart) saucepan on medium heat for 4 minutes.
- When hot, add oil and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Add the watercress to the pot and stir until slightly wilted (about 1 minute).
- Add the broth and boil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Divide the watercress into 4 soup bowls, and divide the broth into each bowl.