Chicken Quenelles and Watercress Soup

I love the delicacy of clear soups and the way they leave you feeling somehow cleansed. If possible, use good home-made stock.

Ingredients

  • 275 g/10 oz skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 7.5-10 cm/3-4 in sprig fresh tarragon
  • finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 medium egg white
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 1.7 litres/3 pints chicken stock
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Chop the chicken breasts finely in a food processor and then turn them into a bowl. Take the leaves off the tarragon stalk and chop finely. Add the chopped tarragon and lemon rind to the chicken. Season well with salt and then beat in the egg white thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using wet hands, form the mixture into small balls or ovals; these are your quenelles.

Pick just the leaves off the watercress stems and keep on one side. Line a sieve with 2 layers of muslin or a linen cloth and then strain the chicken stock slowly through it into a saucepan. Strain in the lemon juice, check for seasoning, and then bring to a rapid boil. Drop in the chicken quenelles and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the watercress leaves and remove from the heat after a second. Serve immediately.

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