Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Potato, Pea & Watercress Soup

This post is mostly for Judith, a woman I've known for ages. We met via email through Food Chain, she is a quite inspired rota co-ordinator, and she eased me into volunteering across a couple of south London kitchens. One of her defining characteristics is that she is a very seriously north London person. She is instantly lost upon crossing the Thames, yet take her back over the river and she is mistress of all she surveys. She liked a recipe a while ago that required Nigella seeds - her inablility to come south to Tooting to buy her own had me sending them to her by post. Talk about geographical determination! We did meet once in, whisper it, south London but someone else was driving I believe.

We have instead an almost entirely digital relationship - we exchange emails occasionally about this and that and the state of things and she also follows this blog. A while ago I wrote about a Potato Council campaign to get people eating more of them and, as well as a lovely recipe for salmon with potatoes and pickled cucumber I added photos of other dishes made that morning. Same day I got an email from Judith, amsued at my hobnobbing with James Martin and mentioning that though the salmon dish sounded good she really loved the look of this beautiful soup. I  promised to find her the recipe.

I am embarassed at how long it has taken me to honour that promise but, hey, good things come to those who wait!

Potato, Pea and Watercress Soup

Serves 4 as a lunch dish or dinner for 2 if you add bread and cheese

1 litre vegetable stock
500g fresh or frozen peas
300g fresh watercress
300g smooth potatoes such as Desiree
100g flat leaf parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
20g butter
1 chopped shallot
1 clove garlic
150ml double cream

4 medium free range eggs
30ml white wine vinegar

Peashoots or cress leaves to decorate

Peel and cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes. Place in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 4-5 minutes till just tender, then drtain and place to one side.

Next bring water tothe boil in a large pan and add a big pinch of salt. Blanch the parsley and three quarters of the watercress and remove straight away.

Sauté the shallots and garlic in the butter, then add the peas and stock. Cook for 2-3 minutes,until the peas are just tender and bright green, then add the cream. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and watercress and blend for 5 minutes to make it really smooth.

While blending bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set a bowl of iced water alongside. Carefully add the eggs to the water, and boil for exactly 5 ½ minutes, then remove them from the pan and chill in the iced water. 

Place a pile of the cooked potato in the middle of each soup plate, half each egg and place on top. Spoon the soup around the edge, garnish with watercress and drizzle with olive oil.

A really lovely dish to ease yourself into autumn, the eggs can be poached rather than soft boiled if you prefer.

The message of the original post bears repeating too - eat lots of potatoes! Lots more recipes here to feed you well.