Monday, May 3, 2010

Nettle Soup

I spent part of this morning at the farm of a friend who has a wonderful and huge nettle patch. We harvested several large baskets of nettles & I brought my basketful home to make soup with. I always harvest nettles with my bare hands. It requires complete focus on the task at hand. Waver for a second and she will sting. It's a practice I love. Nettle requires undivided attention. And yet, I harvested so many nettles this morning that even I have 3 numb fingertips.

Here's a recipe I've been using for years.

Creamy Nettle Soup

A friend of mine sent me a version of this recipe from the West Country of England, & I think it's fabulous! This should be made with young, tender nettles, early in Spring. To avoid being "stung" by the nettles, you might want to wear clean gardening gloves for harvesting, washing & chopping. If there is any sting, it will be gone by the time the nettles are wilted. It is quite possible to handle nettles without being stung, but it takes a brave heart and unwavering attention!

Olive oil
3 Cups young nettles (use only the top few inches), washed & chopped
1 cup chopped onion
2 pounds potatoes
2 Tablespoons butter
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
Dulse flakes or sea salt, to taste
Black pepper to taste
1 Cup plain yogurt

Wash the nettles and chop coarsely. Melt butter in saucepan, cook chopped onion until clear. Add nettles and simmer for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut potatoes into thick slices. Add stock to the nettles, heat & add potatoes, Dulse flakes & pepper. Simmer on low until potatoes are soft. Cool slightly & puree in a blender. Stir in yogurt & serve.

Recipe, copyright 2005, Sarah Campbell

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