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Another quick must-share, yesterday’s Nettle Sorrel Green Soup, an easy and good Sunday supper and dish to discuss in my new anti-recipe, pro-technique zeal.

And I’m now polyamorous, sharing my passion for Nettles with Sorrel, because that lemony zing on the side of the tongue is a wild and captivating sensation.

In the wonderful The Taste of Belgium, reviewed here, there’s a Spinach Sorrel Soup which has been on my list, as I’ve been curious to try thickening a soup with egg yolks, just to understand what that technique is about.

Waerebeek’s recipe instructs to add loads of spinach and a few diced potatoes into a diluted chicken stock (vegetarian obviously substitutable), simmering, pureeing in a blender, then seasoning with nutmeg, salt and pepper.  You beat your yolks in a bowl and add some soup to them, making sure it’s not too hot, and slowly add this mixture back to the pot, paying attention that it never boils again, only simmers. Spoon ladle-fulls on top of julienned ribbons of fresh sorrel.  Delicious.

In the past I’d always have first sautéed onions or leeks in a little butter or olive oil, then added the stock, potatoes, and greens, pureeing at the end, then seasoning and perhaps stirring in a little cream or creme fraiche.  This is what I think of as the easiest British style vegetable soup, always successful as a method and flexible with ingredients. But Waerebeek’s way is easy too, and I note the absence of any oniony flavour– except that which may reside subtly in the stock.

Cookery queen Lucy Antal (read her blog Grab Your Spoon)– a friend and a writer whom I’m certain is going to write an utter masterpiece on home-style Hungarian cuisine –told me one of her father’s favourite soup was a Sorrel Soup prepared with just this same last-minute thickening with egg yolks, then served with fried potato croutons.

Waerebeek’s recipe also recalls this beautiful Anna Thomas Green Soup that was chosen (here! here!) for the Food52 Genius Recipe column. Thomas’ has no cream or thickening at the end, but the caramelised onions are a marvellous savoury sweetener– which happily is not a contradiction in terms.

All of these methods are good and one can add or subtract as one wishes, depending on what’s on hand.  I like the idea of using oast instead of potatoes (even perhaps scraping the porridge pot), and of laverbread in a green soup, or leftover rice, and dandelions leaves, and of course kale when it’s there, and yes to spinach, plenty of fresh herbs (like the coriander in Anna Thomas’ above) and old lettuce, and overgrown corn salad.  A kind of Whatever approach.  Salt and Pepper is always good in Green Whatever Soup.

I used nettles, because like Frank Cook in the video here I believe nettles should be the national food of the British Isles.  I love their nutty back flavour and alluring perfume, and in fact, I enjoy the sensation of the sting.  Loads always on my to-do-with-nettles list, not least of which is just gathering tips and drying for tea for the seasons ahead. And the Sorrel offers that lemony surprise.  I happened to plant some last year, because I never seem to see it growing wild, but many people do– keep your eyes open.

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