When its just too hot to eat much of anything and I find I need *something* to supplement yogurt smoothies and iced tea, this soup is one that I love.
I must admit, spinach makes me happy. I like it in almost any form one can imagine (barring what my school cafeteria did to it, but I think they started with canned spinach – gack!). Anyway, I love spinach, and if you can find it fresh and local, so much the better! If not, I recommend frozen, but leave the canned product on the shelf. (shudder)
I also love watercress and arugula – something about the peppery snap of flavor wakes up and adds to a salad, or in this case, a soup. I love to mix a handful of arugula in a spinach salad, and throw a few Mexican oregano flowers on top for “pretty”. The flowers are about an inch long, and taste sweet and fiery, and when my Mexican oregano is in bloom the hummers go mad for it. No worries if I take a few, though, I have two bushes and each is about a yard tall. Plenty of nectar for the hummers and salad toppings for me!
But I meant to talk about soup…
This soup is very easy and keeps for days. It can be frozen also, since there is no dairy in it until serving. It is quick to make as well, no hours of prep or long-simmering pot of splodge that heats up a kitchen. I think it is better the second day (what soup isn’t?). One can expect about 1 hour (or less) of prep/cook time total.
Fast’n’Easy Spinach Watercress Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
1 good bunch spinach
1 small bunch watercress (or arugula)
water (or chicken stock)
salt and pepper
juice of one small lemon (or 1/2 large lemon)
yogurt (at the table)
Fresh chives, minced
Heat the oil in a large deep pot. Add the onions, reduce the heat and cook until nearly caramelized. While the onions are cooking, clean the greens.* When the onions are just over the border from translucent but not browned, add a bit of fresh grated nutmeg and the greens. The greens will wilt quickly, so you can add them in bits if your pot doesn’t seem large enough initially. When the greens are wilted add just enough water (or chicken stock) to barely cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Check for salt/pepper.
When everything is cooked enough (once the watercress stems are tender), remove from heat and purée using a stick blender. Add lemon juice to taste. If you don’t have a stick blender (I found mine at a thrift store and I *love* it) a regular blender will work but be careful — hot liquid in a blender is a scary thing!!
Chill the soup overnight, and serve with plain yogurt like a borsht. A nice dollop of yogurt per bowlful is good (it looks like an iceberg in a green ocean if you squint just right), or let folks dress their own at the table. A few minced chives on top finishes the dish.
This soup will cool your core, or at least seem to. For a winter version, add a few potatoes to the mix and purée when the potatoes are cooked through. Yummy, but not so summery… Enjoy and stay cooooool…
*I clean my greens in my salad spinner. Simply fill the strainer portion with greens, put it in the “spinner” bowl, fill the whole thing with water and swoosh the greens around a bit. Let it sit a few minutes then carefully lift the strainer bowl out. Any dirt and sand will stay in the water, which can then go on the garden (assuming organic greens, of course).