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Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Nettle Soup for Spring

We have all encountered stinging nettles at some point in our lives. They spring up all over the British Isles with their nasty stinging leaves. I expect we were all told as children that to stop the pain of a sting, you need to rub it with a Dock leaf, which usually grows near -by the nettles. I'd heard about nettle soup, but never tried it... until this week. All the fresh young nettles are currently pushing their way out of the increasingly warm earth, and this is the perfect time to get picking as you want the young plants (otherwise things could get stringy!). Just remember to wear gloves and pick mainly the tips- get your own back on those stingers! The soup tastes really good, the nettles taste similar to spinach, but still have their own unique flavour, and apparently they are packed full of goodness, so that's a bonus! The recipe is from 'The River Cottage Cookbook' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

1/2 Carrier bag full of young nettles
55g Butter
1 large or 2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 large garlic clove, crushed or grated finely
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock (a cube like Knorr is fine)
Freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tablespoons of cooked rice
2 Tablespoons creme fraiche
Salt and Pepper

To garnish
Chopped parsley
Creme Fraiche

Pick over the nettles and wash them thoroughly.

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Place the lid on to 'sweat' the vegetables until soft and sweet. Add the stock and then pile all the nettles on top. Place the lid back on and allow the nettles to cook for 5-10 minutes (until tender), stirring a couple of times. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into a blender with the cooked rice (to thicken). Blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pan and add the creme fraiche and check seasoning.  Reheat to almost boiling and then serve, garnished with creme fraiche, chopped parsley and a sprinkling of nutmeg... enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds positively amazing : ) I have never heard of a nettle. I don't know if we have them here in US. I am visiting via Kelly's Enjoying the Small Things blog and your comment there. So nice to meet you.