Spring Nettle Soup
It's certainly true that stinging nettles are rich in Iron and many other useful minerals and vitamins, there are claims of many other health benefits too, but that’s beyond my expertise, they are abundant, tasty and free! Springtime is the best time to pick the young tips before they grow too fiberous, from long lived experience it’s the tiny ones that give the meanest sting so make sure your gloves are a decent thickness.
I’ve added spinach here to enhance the colour of the soup, when picking nettles you’ll more than likely come across hedge garlic and ground elder growing alongside them in the hedgrows, by all means add these to the mix too if you know what to look for.
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- 50g butter
- 150g Young nettle tops
- 100g Spinach
- 2 banana shallots, sliced thinly
- 1 stick Celery, sliced thinly
- ¼ leek (the white part), sliced thinly
- 1 large potato, sliced thinly (a japanese mandolin is useful to slice as thinly as possible so they cook quickly)
- 1 litre hot chicken (or vegetable) stock
Wearing rubber gloves, drop the nettles tops and spinach into a large pan of boiling water for a minute or so until just wilted. Strain and place into a large bowl of ice water to cool. Strain into a colander, squeeze out the moisture and roughly chop
In a large saucepan, cook the shallots, celery and leek in a little oil until just softened, turn up the heat and add the butter, add the thinly sliced potatoes when the butter begins to foam and stir again until the potatoes begin to soften and break up.
Add the stock and simmer for 10 minutes, add the chopped spinach and nettles and immediately blend with a stick blender, season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.