Watercress & Almond Soup

She impressed the judges of the 2015 Great British Bake Off with her elegant dishes. Now Flora Shedden shares her simple recipes for feasts great and small in her book, Gatherings. Her recipe for watercress and almond soup is one of our favourites – we think it would make a lovely starter for a meal with family and friends.

The almonds in this soup add a creaminess you would normally only  achieve using dairy products.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 4-6

  • olive oil
  • 1 large white onion or 2
  • banana shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 large potato, peeled and grated
  • 75g (2¾oz) ground almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced or minced
  • 2 litres (2 pints) vegetable stock
  • 100g (3½oz) broad beans, skinned, or peas (I buy frozen broad beans as they are easier to prep – cover with boiling water, allow to sit for a minute, then squeeze between thumb and forefinger to remove the bean)
  • 150g (5½oz) watercress
  • small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • garlic flowers, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat a splash of oil in a deep saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and potato. Sweat them for about 5 minutes, until they begin to become translucent.
  2. Add the almonds, garlic and two-thirds of the vegetable stock to the pan. Bring the liquid to the boil, then cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to a medium setting and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Now add the broad beans, watercress and parsley. Stir, then take the pan off the heat. You don’t want to overcook the greens or they will lose their bright colour. Blitz the soup in a food processor or using a stick blender until very smooth. It will still be very thick at this stage, but it is best to blend at this point as it will result in a much smoother soup.
  4. Once you are happy with the texture, add the remaining stock or enough to bring the soup to your preferred consistency.
  5. Season to taste before scattering with garlic flowers.

Recipe taken from Gatherings by Flora Shedden, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25, octopusbooks.co.uk

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