1 tbsp canola oil
4 oz watercress
stems and/or leaves, about 3 cups washed and dried
1 stalk celery
about 1 cup coarsely chopped
6 oz onion
about 1.5 cups coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
3/4 tsp salt
or to taste
12 oz potato
about 1 medium potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
or beef, veal, or a combination of stocks, vegetable for a vegan option
fried wonton strips
optional garnish
Remember that eggplant salad recipe? Here’s a great way to make use of leftover watercress stems and leaves. Since you purée the soup with a hand blender, you don’t have to worry about chopping your vegetables perfectly. This recipe is easy to make, and the soup is comforting and filling. It also freezes well.

This recipe can be made vegan by replacing chicken stock with vegetable broth. Adapted from Essential Pepin.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When hot, add the watercress, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the stock, salt, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Purée the soup with a hand blender.
Serve the soup hot. Garnish with crispy wonton strips if using.
We have made this soup several times. The first time we made it, we had fried wonton strips on hand from leftover Chinese chicken salad, so we just garnished it with that. The second time we made it, we garnished it with croutons. The fried wonton strips stayed crunchy for longer. The croutons soaked up the soup and got soggy quickly.

In reading one of JP’s books from 1990 - The Short-Cut Cook - we found out that he is a HUGE fan of wonton wrappers. He'd crisp them up in the oven and even make ravioli with them.

You could also substitute spinach stems for the watercress.