This quick and simple classic British soup gets an exotic textural twist with the addition of crisp, fragrant Asian pear. A light palate-cleansing starter to a dinner party, this watercress soup recipe from Shaun Rankin is also lovely as a summer cooling dish.

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Melt the butter in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the watercress (reserving some leaves for garnish), the milk and 700ml cold water to the pan and bring to the boil
Once boiled, remove from the heat. Ladle the mixture into a food processor and liquidise until smooth. Season with salt and pepper
Peel the pear, remove the core then cut into fine strips and dress with the lemon juice and sugar
Boil the peas for 2-3 minutes then drain
Serve the soup either hot or cold, and garnish with the peas, dressed Asian pear and a few watercress leaves
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  1. Food processor or blender

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Shaun Rankin uses peppery watercress to wonderful effect in his chilled watercress soup recipe and dresses it with Asian pear and garden peas.

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