It’s spring! Here comes the nettle soup

NettlesBy popular request, here are two nettle soup recipes for you to make the most of all those lovely vitamins and minerals in the tops of the nettles. Just make sure you are wearing gloves and only remove the young, fresh shoots from the top of each plant, and avoid collecting them from areas that are too near traffic or where they might have been sprayed with pesticides.

Thin soup

1 lb nettle tops or enough freshly picked ones to fill your largest saucepan, pressed down a bit

Tbsp olive oil

Chopped onion

1 pint chicken stock

Sprinkle of nutmeg

Dash of creme fraiche

Chop the nettle tops roughly and saute them with the onion, allowing the mixture to sweat in the pan a little. Then pour over the chicken stock (you can also use vegetable stock if you prefer). Cook until the leaves and onion are really soft and then puree the soup in a blender and season with salt and pepper as desired. Add nutmeg to taste. Serve with a cheeky little dash of creme fraiche.

Thick soup

1/2 lb nettle tops

1 lb floury potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes

Chopped onion

2 oz butter

1 1/2 pints chicken or vegetable stock

4 tbsp double cream

Chop the nettle tops roughly and saute them with the onion, allowing the mixture to sweat in the pan a little as in the previous recipe. Then pour over the chicken stock (again, you can also use vegetable stock if you prefer). Cook until the leaves and onion are really soft and add the potato. Cook until the potato is soft enough to mash into the soup. Strain the soup to remove lumps (a French mouli-legumes is best for this, but if you don’t have one, just strain it through a colander. Don’t use a blender or food processor as it will get gelatinous). Finally stir in the cream and season to taste. Good served with bacon bits sprinkled on top, if you have any.

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