Unless we are having friends to dinner, weekend cooking is usually a pretty relaxed affair in our place and tends to focus on “things I need to use up before they go bad”. This weekend, it resulted in two of my favourite dishes: Cream of Cress soup and Brie and Onion tart.
Cream of Cress Soup
I love making soup for so many reasons: it’s usually quick, full of good vitamins, makes you warm on a cold February day and is easy to bring to work for lunch. (I have really good Tupperware.) This one makes you feel particularly healthy, despite the cream…and the copious amounts of Parmesan I like to add…
Oh and best of all, I got to try out my new hand-held Braun blender which I bought at BHV this weekend – it worked like a DREAM. I might have to do a product review elsewhere.
Today we will teach you how to make Cream of Cress Soup. this soup is very tasty.
- 1 bag of cress
- 1 bag of spinach
- half a small jar of cr├Ęme fra├«che (about a third of a cup)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- a few dollops of dry sherry
- a tablespoon of butter
- handful of mushrooms (optional)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- lemon juice to taste
Saut├ę the onions and chopped garlic in the butter. Once the onions are soft and the garlic is cooked, add a splash or two of sherry and let it nearly cook away. Add the washed spinach and cress, woody stems removed. Add half the broth, cover and raise the heat to steam. After a few minutes, when they are all limp and cooked, remove from heat. Use a hand-held blender or normal blender to zap into a smooth pur├ęe. Add the rest of the broth, the cr├Ęme fra├«che (or sour cream) and milk. Reheat, but do not boil. At this point, I usually throw a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms into the broth, but that's just me. If you order this soup in a Paris restaurant (soupe de cresson) it will not include fungi. Also, I'm not sure that the parmesan is usually found in this soup, but personally I love it. Taste the soup before serving and add freshly ground pepper and lemon juice to taste. If you used sour cream, lemon juice may not be necessary. It sort of livens up the taste a bit.
Some notes: I'm already cheating on this site, because this is not the soup as I made it last night. In fact, I used twice the garlic and onion and came up with a soup that was just a little too onion-y. So, ever resourceful, I pulled the frozen Cress Soup base that I had in my freezer from the last time I made too much and popped it in the pot. It was kind of interesting - I think I must have put some fresh basil in the soup last time. Anyway, it did the trick and turned it back into a lovely soup.
Another note: a great trick I learned from Marcella Hazan (author of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a very good book) is to save your rinds of parmesan in the freezer and throw a bit into cream soups like this. It melts away the last bit of cheese that was too hard to grate and you can throw away the last soggy bit before you serve.