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Cream Of Watercress Soup

ingredients

12 oz (350 g) watercress
3 shallots 1 oz (30 g) butter 4 tbsp plain flour
scant 2 pints (1.1 litres) vegetable stock or chicken stock
2 egg yolks
5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
salt

method

1. Wash the watercress. Drain. Take off all the leaves and their little stalks, discard all the thicker stalks.

2. Peel the shallots or onion and chop very finely indeed. Fry in the butter for 3 minutes without browning at all.

3. Add the watercress and a pinch of salt. Stir well, cover with a tight-fitting lid and leave to sweat over a gentle heat for 5 minutes, or until the watercress has turned dark and wilted.

4. Sift the flour into the saucepan and stir well over the low heat for 1 minute.

5. Take the pan off the heat and use a balloon whisk to blend in the boiling hot stock, adding this gradually to avoid any lumps forming.

6. Return to the heat, cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Use a hand-held electric beater or rotary whisk to beat the soup until it is very smooth.

7. Just before serving the soup, reheat it to boiling point and draw aside from the heat.

8. Beat the egg yolks with the cream in a small bowl and whisk into the soup.

9. Place over a very low heat and continue beating for 2 minutes as the soup thickens a little. Do not allow to boil or the eggs will curdle.

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