This recipe for Nettle Soup comes to us from Darina Allen's Irish Traditional Cooking: Over 300 Recipes from Ireland's Heritage (Kyle Books; 2012). Nettles have always been one of the most important and abundant wild foods in Ireland. Many people believe that a "feed" of nettles in late Spring will clear the blood and "keep the rheumatics away" for the rest of the year.
Yield: serves 6
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups chopped potatoes
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1½–1¾ cups leeks, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cups homemade chicken stock
- <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cup young nettles, washed and chopped
- <sup>2</sup>⁄<sub>3</sub> cup heavy cream, or half and half
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onions, and leeks and toss them in the butter until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Cover with a paper lid (to keep in the steam) and the lid of the saucepan, then sweat on gentle heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not colored.
- Discard the paper lid. Add the stock and boil until the vegetables are just cooked. Add the chopped nettle leaves. Simmer uncovered for just a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the vegetables will discolor and lose their flavor.
- Add the heavy cream or half and half and liquefy in a blender. Taste and correct seasoning if necessary. Serve hot.
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