Broccoli - Watercress Soup

A bright green soup with a smooth texture that nicely combines the flavors of broccoli, leeks, and peppery watercress.
Based on a recipe from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook, Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins, 1985, Workman Publishing, NY.
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Soups, Vegetarian
Keyword: Autumn, Can be made ahead, Freezes Well, Winter
Servings: 8
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 3 medium leeks
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts low sodium chicken broth preheated to speed cooking time
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose potatoes peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
  • 7 cups broccoli ends trimmed, stalks sliced 1/4" thick, florets cut to approximately 2 inch pieces
  • 4 cups watercress packed (two 4 ounce packages) large stems removed, rinsed and dried
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • salt to taste


  • Trim the leeks to use the white and tender green portion. Slice each one lengthwise in half. Rinse well. Place in a shallow container and add cold water to cover and add the cider vinegar. Soak for 15 minutes. Rinse and coarsely chop.
  • Using an 6 quart stock pot, melt the butter in a stock pot over low heat. Add the leeks, onion, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is transparent, approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and potatoes. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the stems of the broccoli are tender. Remove from the heat and, while still hot, stir in the watercress. 
  • Allow to cool slightly until safe to process, either using an immersion blender or  in small batches in a blender, until very smooth. Whisk in the milk. Add salt to taste. 
  • Just before serving, warm the soup over low heat.


The broccoli must be tender to achieve a very smooth texture when processing at the end. For vegetarian version substitute vegetable stock for the broth.