Monday, August 05, 2013

Nettle, sorrel and mushroom soup

As a milestone birthday looms I’ve been reflecting on my life. Quite distinct from nostalgia, it’s more akin to curating a body of work, acknowledging the themes and reappraising lessons.

This process of review is even invading my cooking. There’s been no new discoveries, just old recipes revisited and reworked. Why toss out a recipe for being old school when it can be upcycled with a twist of ingredients?

For example I’ve crossed muffins with carnival cookies to make a vegan chocolate and cherry mini-muffin scented with mixed spice. This weekend saw a hybrid version of rice balls and soy bombs, flecked with seaweed. (I’ll blog the recipes later if you want them).

The nettle soup has evolved over the last few winters. A smaller crop this yet sent me searching for something in the garden to pad it out and sorrel fit the bill so perfectly, I don’t know why I never tried it before. If you’ve got neither, substitute another green like broccoli for a more than passable soup and add a squeeze of lemon before serving to recreate the citrus zing.

Nettle, sorrel and mushroom soup

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 large potato, peeled and diced

1 (gloved) handful, nettles
1 handful, sorrel
150 grams mushrooms, sliced

1 litre good quality vegetable stock

Sea salt

Black pepper
Prep the vegetables. If using greens from the garden wash well and inspect for snails (they seem to love my sorrel). In a large, heavy based saucepan heat the olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Toss in the garlic and stir for a minute or two, then add the potatoes. Next add the mushrooms and let them sweat a little. Lastly throw in the nettles and sorrel, allowing the greens to wilt before covering with vegetable stock. Top up with water if necessary.
Turn the heat down so the soup can gently simmer for about 20 minutes. Remember to stir every now and then and check there is enough water. When the potatoes are soft, blend with a stick blender. I like a little texture in the soup, rather than homogeneously smooth. Return to the pot to reheat and season as desired with salt and pepper.

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