I love soup. I have been concocting soup recipes for years and love having a hot pot brewing at home. This recipe I made on-the-fly for a family event and everyone devoured it. The ingredients are ‘loose’ as you can add more or less to your liking. It is the combination of flavours that work so well in this soup, rather than the amounts.
When I was living in Ireland, a friend from Poland offered me a bowl of nettle soup. All I could think about was the terrible stings they leave. I had no idea how detoxifying they were or how fabulous they taste in soup. In Ireland we could find young nettles in our garden. I was thrilled to find them here at the Hammonds Plains Farmers’ Market. Here is my version of Nettle Soup:
Spring Nettle Soup
1 – 2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or pressed
1 onion, chopped
2 cups brown mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 bag Taproot Farm Nettles: about 2 cups
6-7 cups good quality vegetable or chicken stock
Optional: dash of thyme or nutmeg
Optional: 1 cup of cream or almond milk. (This adds a richness to the soup
but is not necessary. If you are not using the cream, add a little more potato and stock, purely to make the soup stretch.)
In a large stock pot, ‘sweat’ the onion in the olive oil, covered with a lid over low heat for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil kettle. Carefully tear open the nettle bag (without touching the nettles) pour into a large bowl and cover with the freshly boiled water. Let sit for 2 -3 minutes.
This ‘should’ (there’s my disclaimer!) remove all the stings from the nettle leaves. Drain, and pick out and discard any stems or hard pieces. Roughly chop.
Add garlic and mushrooms to the onion pot, return the lid and sweat for 5 minutes.
Add chopped potato and stock. Bring to a simmer, partly cover for 15 minutes.
Add nettles, simmer for 4 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand mixer or blender.
Stir in cream or almond milk if using. Salt and pepper to taste.
Nettle season is beginning! We have harvested a small amount for wholesale and today Amy and Josh loaded up some trays for drying. (See photo left)
If you don't already know this about your CSA farm, TapRoot is a nettle haven! We have a large, productive stinging nettle patch and so nettles make an appearance in the early spring shares quite a bit. Next week or the week following for sure, you will be receiving nettle in your shares. In the meantime, Monique shared this recipe, to get you excited!:
From TapRoot CSA member and nettle fan Monique: Nettle Season is upon us! I'm gonna share a traditional Viking recipe for Nettle soup! Stinging Nettle is one of the nine sacred herbs of Norse lore. "Traditional Magical Uses: Associated with Thor, nettles send curses back to their owner. Sprinkled around the house, it keeps evil away; thrown onto a fire, it averts danger; held in the hand, it keeps away ghosts. It is considered a "carnivorous" herb, and is used in purification baths. Burn for exorcisms."
Nässelsoppa (Nettle Soup)
This recipe is adapted from Över Öppen Eld Vikingatida Recept (Over an Open
Fire Viking Age Recipes). Makes 4 servings.
Harvest nettles early in spring. To avoid the sting of the fine hairs of the nettle, wear gloves or
grab the stalk very firmly. Nettles are rich in vitamins and minerals, which the body craved
after a long Viking Age winter.
2 quarts fresh nettles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons wheat flour
1 quart good bouillon
1/2-1 teaspoon thyme
1/2-1 teaspoon marjoram
1/3 cup chopped chives
4 cooked egg yolks, chopped finely
Wash nettles well. Cover nettles with bouillon and boil for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain
the liquid off the nettles and save it. Chop the nettles. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add a
little flour to the butter and stir until it starts to brown, then gradually add the bouillon. Add
the nettles back in, then cook at a simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt,
thyme, marjoram, and chives. Place into individual bowls and garnish with chopped egg yolk.
Just after Saltscapes last week I picked up a friend I met at the Slow Food Int'l Terra Madre in 2012. Cynthia joined us at TapRoot from Slow Food Edmonton. Just in the few days we spent together here at home, I was reminded again how incredible our Annapolis Valley is. In three days she was able to visit the Bay of Fundy, help out on the farm, have a winery tour, eat at fine restaurants, enjoy and be moved by local theatre, and stand by watching the movement of the tides in the Cornwallis River.
On Thursday we headed to Tatamagouche to participate in the Slow Food Canada national meetings. It is a wonderful feeling to be in a room with people from across Canada who are passionate and committed and working so hard for Good Clean Fair food for everyone.
Then on Saturday we continued the meetings (not really the fun part, but necessary) and ended the day with the most amazing event. Lia Rinaldo a Slow Food Nova Scotia member expresses her volunteerism through making this wonderful fundraiser happen called Slow Food Spring Supper. (she and teams of other volunteers) Lia is also the Managing Director of Devour: The Food Film Festival. I think she is pretty great and makes events happen that are a part of the AMAZING of NS!
Josh and I were touched and honoured to receive recognition as one of Slow Food Canada's Slow Food Heroes. We feel so full of gratitude for everyone around us who are making TapRoot Farms what it is....a farm, a community, a system of agriculture that takes care of the planet and people and spirit.
If you haven't checked out Slow Food International I recommend taking a few minutes to look over the webpage. Slow Food is a grass roots movement toward change that celebrates culture, community, food, farmers, fishers, all those in the food system who work to make our food possible in a way that is Good Clean and Fair.
The usual maple glazed roasted carrots were not on the menu this week. Instead, it was the favourite carrot-based smoothie with apple, orange, banana, mango, ginger, and kale with some added chia and flaxmeal. It was quite good!