Sunday, 1 June 2008
Somerset Nettle Soup
I remember my Mum once told me that nettles with flowers on them don't sting. So when I had a friend around I remember showing off and jumping into a vast clump of flowering nettles in my shorts and t-shirt to prove to them that nettles in bloom don't sting.
That was a lesson well learnt at an early age. What Mum had failed to mention was that she meant that nettles with white flowers don't sting. The ones with evil purple flowers prime time stingers!
So with trepidation, some very fetching gloves and 2 whippets Cowie and I went out nettle hunting... 4 cowpats later we had a Waitrose bag full to the brim with the tips of our nettles, ready to be sweated down and enjoyed.
We rinsed them, and removed any grass and grit. Meanwhile we sweated down and onion, a potato in some oil and butter and then added the nettles which wilted rather like spinach, albeit more slowly. When they were soft and gooey we added some chicken stock and left it all to simmer away.
David put the mixture in the blender and then passed it through a strange mangle like contraption that is designed for taking the pips out of jam and creating baby food which left us with very smooth nettle soup.
A dash of cream and some agressive seasoning yielded a very fine late spring soup.
Now I know why the Romans brought nettles with them from Italy!