stinging nettle soup

April 14, 2012

stinging nettle soup, vegan soup, vgourmet, Ruth Richardson

This wonder plant is one of the first to come up in the spring. Nettles – despite their little stingers – have a long and auspicious history as a food source, medicine, and cloth. Did you know that fabric woven of nettle fibre has been found in burial sites dating back to the Bronze Age? And for centuries nettles have been used for a long list of ailments from arthritis to urinary tract disease, perhaps because they are chock-a-block full of vitamins A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, and calcium. Tasting a little like spinach, only earthier and grassier, they provide a super power boost to soups, sauces, and risotto alike. Oh, and by the way, they create a soup that’s actually this green!

stinging nettle soup, vegan soup, vgourmet, ruth richardson

300 grams nettle tops

3 tbsps olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 leeks, cleaned thoroughly and chopped

4 celery stalks, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

4 tbsps basmati rice

8 cups veggie stock

sea salt and pepper to taste

With gloves on to avoid the sting in stinging nettle, wash the nettles thoroughly and remove the leaves from any tough stalks. Discard the stalks and set the leaves aside.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, and celery stalks and sauté for about 10 minutes until they are soft but not browned. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add the rice and stir well. Add stock, bring to a boil, and let simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Once the rice is cooked, add the nettles, and stir until they are totally submerged. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until the nettles wilt but don’t cook them for too long as you want them to keep their bright green colour.

Season with sea salt and pepper to taste. Purée the soup in batches in a food processor or blender. Return to the stove and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve hot garnished with the first chives of the season for a truly local, healthy, medicinal meal.

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