The first person who cooked nettles must have been starving or intended to poison someone. Nettles feel poisonous. I can imagine a disgruntled cook plotting someone’s murder by soup, assuming the plant to be poisonous but surprised when it failed to kill. I am typing with stinging fingertips. Yes, I should have worn gloves, but I really couldn’t have guessed the pain would linger for hours. Stinging nettles actually sting. Live and learn.
I bought fresh, locally harvested nettles from the San Juan Island Food Coop in Friday Harbor. Seattle has been infatuated with nettles for years and I have been slow to jump on the bandwagon. I found a simple potage online because my own cookbook collection yielded no nettle recipes. I modified a basic recipe from About.com.
Putting the soup through a sieve isn’t really an option to me. The nettles, even after processing, are very fibrous. Straining the soup is the only way to go in my opinion. I dotted the finished soup with fresh chevre from Quail Croft Farmstead Cheese.
Stinging Nettle Soup
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/2 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 1/2- 1 lb. stinging nettles, stems removed
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, ground
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnish with fresh goat chevre or sour cream
- in a large stockpot combine stock, potatoes, onions and garlic and bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes until potatoes are completely cooked. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook 15 minutes.
- Add nettles and cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Puree soup with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processer in batches. For less fibrous texture, run mixture through a food mill or sieve.
- Stir in cream. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper and garnish with fresh chevre or sour cream