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The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook
by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Watercress grows wild in streams around Williamsburg. The small leaves have a slight peppery taste that makes a flavorful soup.
Serves 6


• 1 bunch watercress
• 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 2 medium all-purpose potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 large leek, white part only, cleaned and thinly sliced
• 2 cups Chicken Stock or low-salt canned chicken stock
• 2 cups milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the large bitter stems of the watercress and wash the leaves in several changes of cold water. Reserve several of the nicest leaves for garnish. Coarsely chop the rest.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped watercress, potatoes, leek, and V4 cup water. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and milk. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 20 minutes longer.

Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the saucepan and place over low heat. Pour in the cream and cook, stirring often, until hot. Do not boil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, garnished with the reserved watercress leaves.


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