A recipe for nettle soup
Going for a walk has never felt more precious than in these strange days of lockdown. Feeling the fresh air in our lungs, the sun warm on our faces, listening to the birds singing, watching the blossom bloom and noticing the beauty of nature right on our doorstep.
Many of us are also turning to a more traditional way of life ~ learning new skills, baking bread, embroidery, growing our own vegetables and foraging for our food.
For many years I have taken to the woodland to forage for wild garlic (you can read my 'three ways with wild garlic' journal post here) but I have never cooked with nettles...until now.
My friend, Dan Cooper - a chef, food tutor and stylist - heard that I was new to foraging for nettles, so kindly gave me some tips and has shared his recipe for nettle soup for you to try too.
There's quite a short window for picking early nettles, so get your gloves on and keep a lookout while on your daily exercise.
"This is a family recipe I enjoyed growing up. Living in the Slad valley nettles were plentiful at this time of year and my parents would frequently cook nettle soup for all of the family. I have now adopted the recipe to cook for my little family." Daniel Cooper
Ingredients ~ serves 4 - 6
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes diced
400g young nettle heads
4 tbsp olive oil
1.2L good-quality vegetable stock
nutmeg, generous pinch
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
50ml cream, oat cream or milk
salt and pepper to taste
wash the nettles, use gloves being careful when you handle them. Discard any thick stalks and anything else you don’t like the look of.
sweat the onion and celery in the olive oil until soft and then add the diced potatoes and fry for a further few minutes.
add the stock and bring to the boil. Cook for 10 minutes or until the potato is soft. Add the nettles, simmer for a few minutes until all the leaves have wilted. Blend the soup and add the nutmeg and soy sauce. Finally, add 50ml of cream or milk and season to taste. Enjoy!
Some tips for the soup
~ pick young nettle heads and use gloves when picking and handling at all times. Once cooked they have a wonderful, rich flavour, but until cooked they can still sting
~ as with all soups, don't worry if you aren't able to get your hands on all of the ingredients, such as celery, adapt the recipe as you usually would.
~ be liberal with the pepper, it really works with the nettle and nutmeg.
You can download a printable version of Dan's recipe here.