One of my favorite pastimes is coming home from work and cracking open a cookbook and perusing its contents for a new and delicious recipe. This easy recipe I found while reading the Silver Palate Cookbook in its entirety during my first and second year of law school. I love soup and this recipe is particularly spectacular since the zucchini lends a sweetness and smooth consistency without adding the extra calories off heavy cream. It also is just as delicious if you make it vegetarian or vegan by omitting the butter and chicken stock. This is the sort of recipe that makes you say, Wow! It will be sure to impress you, and your most discerning guests!
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock or water if vegetarian/vegan)
2 pounds (about 4 medium size) zucchini
1 bunch of watercress
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh lemon juice, to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add the onions, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes.
2. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
3. Scrub the zucchini well with a kitchen brush, trim the ends, and chop coarsely. Drop the zucchini into the stock and return it to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until zucchini are very tender, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, remove the leaves and tender stems from the watercress and rinse thoroughly.
5. Remove the soup from the heat, add the watercress, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
6. Pour the soup through a strainer, reserving the liquid, and transfer the solids to a food processor or use a food mill fitted with a medium disc. Add 1 cup of the cooking stock and process until smooth.
7. Return the pureed soup to the pot and add about 2 cups more stock (see Note), until the soup is of the desired consistency.
8. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Simmer briefly to heat through. Serve immediately.
5 to 6 portions
Note: For a richer soup, substitute 1 cup heavy cream for 1 cup of the liquid added after processing.
I have also served this soup chilled with lump crab meat. Also a delicious option which is great in the hot summer months.
Reprinted with permission from Workman Publishing,
from The Silver Palate Cookbook,
copyright 2007 Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins