Stinging Nettle Soup
Many people see stinging nettles as an invasive weed, but they are actually a delicious food and very popular food source in Europe.
Nettles have been used as an herbal remedy for thousands of years. They help detoxify the body, they are anti-inflammatory, they can help with circulation, allergies, hormonal regulation, and prostate issues. Nettle supplements are available from most health food shops.
- 1 Large bag of fresh nettle
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 500g potatoes, peeled & chopped
- 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 to 2 cups of water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or a couple sprigs of fresh thyme)
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream (or leave out the cream for the vegan option)
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Wearing protective gloves, transfer the nettle tops into the boiling water. Blanch for 2 minutes.
- Use tongs to lift the wilted blanched nettles out of the pot and transfer to the bowl of ice water to shock them. Strain. (Cut away and discard any large stems from the nettles. This should be easier to do now that the nettle stingers have lost their sting due to the blanching.)
- Sauté the onion and garlic on a medium heat and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped potatoes, the chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme. If using unsalted or low sodium stock, add one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Roughly chop the blanched nettles and add to the pot. Add enough water to just cover the nettles and potatoes. Return to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the nettles tender.
- Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using) from the pot. Blend.
- Add salt to taste. Depending on the saltiness of the stock you are using, you may need to add at least a teaspoon or more to the soup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add lemon juice. Right before serving, swirl in the cream. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint to serve.