Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup

Thanks for following along with our new adventures! We recently moved from Pittsburgh to Haiti where we are starting a 5 year volunteer assignment with a non-profit relief and development organization. We will be in transition for the next few months as we complete our in-country orientation, language study, spend time living with host families in both the countryside and capital... and lest we forget, have our first baby somewhere in there as well! Please bear with us as we will not have ready access to internet or a kitchen throughout this time. We will continue to share new recipes that we've prepared in advance, and updates on our new life in Haiti as often as we are able.

This Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup is a simple, green, and earthy foil to the button-busting days of Christmas feasting. This recipe is inspired by a watercress soup Paul came across when we were on a French cooking binge, and we find that it adapts well to any hardy green you have on hand. A surprising hit with guests, this soup has a lovely mellow and subtle sweetness that is truly delicious.

Print Friendly and PDF

Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 large bunches hearty greens (watercress, kale, spinach, collards, etc), about 2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large potato, cut into small chunks
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (low sodium or unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk or creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (less if using salted broth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)


  1. Wash greens, and remove stems. Chop all greens roughly
  2. In a large pot, melt butter over high heat. Add the greens, and stir for 2-3 minutes until they turn a vivid bright green. You may want to use tongs to stir the greens to ensure they cook evenly.
  3. Add the potato and broth, bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). 
  4. Puree the soup until it is smooth and add the remaining ingredients (buttermilk, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg). Taste and adjust both seasoning (salt & pepper) and consistency (adding additional milk to loosen if necessary). 
  5. This soup can be served hot or cold. Keep the soup below a simmer after the dairy is added, as boiling can result in the dairy curdling.