Friday, 11 May 2012
I love making nettle soup - as much for the incredible green of it as for the tastiness to come.
It begins with some stingproof gloves (long enough to cover your wrists too) and a large carrier bag - you need MASSES of nettles as they reduce as much as spinach...a carrier bagful will make enough soup for 4-5 people. Only pick the tender, light green growing shoots or tips ... the older leaves and stalks will be too tough and stringy. If you start picking early enough in the season, the nettles will produce successive crops for a few weeks.
Keeping gloves on, swish the nettle tips around in a large bowl of cold water then tip into a colander (or two) and rinse again under the tap. Leave to drain.
The recipe I use is from 'The Week' a couple of years ago:
Whilst the nettle tips are draining, soften 1 or 2 chopped onions in butter in a large pan, then add some garlic, diced potato (one or two) and 2 pints of chicken stock. Simmer till potatoes are soft.
Then add the nettles - you'll think you have far too many but within moments they reduce down. Simmer for 5 to 10 mins more (until nettles are tender - by now they will have no stingability!), then season.
Puree the soup (and marvel at the colour), return to pan and stir in some cream.
Serve with a swirl of cream or creme fraiche, and some chopped chives.
Beautiful, tasty AND good for you - purifies the blood and helps with rheumatism and insomnia.
PS. you can also add raw nettle tips to quiches and omelettes, just like spinach.