Having been out for a successful forage yesterday and having spent some time today propagating herbs in my garden, I was in the mood for making soup!
I’ve been reading a lot about the detoxifying properties of wild spring greens and I’ve known for a while that most garden herbs have many medicinal, as well as culinary benefits. I wanted to make something tasty and healthy, using as little shop-bought produce as possible.
The fruits of yesterday’s foraging session (near Chimney Meadows Nature Reserve) were a big batch of Garlic Mustard, a large bunch of Crow Garlic and some Dead Nettles (we also found Crayfish, along with Crayfish eggs, both of which were edible but the animal was a little small and I wasn’t desperate enough to take the eggs). I complimented these wild spring greens with some cleavers & nettle tops from the garden, as well as a couple of handfuls of fresh herbs. In the end, the only things I used for the soup that I hadn’t grown or foraged myself were stock, oil, black pepper, potatoes & onions (and the latter two I have growing, they just aren’t ready yet).
The recipe went something like this:
5 small potatoes
3 small white onions
1 large red onion
4 bulbs/stalks of crow garlic (chopped)
1 bunch of cleavers
1 bunch of garlic mustard
1 small bunch of nettle tops
1 small bunch of dead nettles
2 handfuls of chopped fresh herbs (I used sage, lemon balm, thyme, rosemary & fennel)
Salt & pepper
As per usual with a soup, I sweated the potatoes and onions for 10 mins to start (I added the crow garlic about half way through, to start it softening, as it was quite tough). I then added the hot stock & simmered the soup for 10 mins, before adding the greens and simmering for another 10. I then blended it all up with a hand blender and I served it straight away, finished with garlic croutons (home made, of course!) and chopped chives (from the garden again!).
I liked it. I wasn’t in love with it. There was a bitterness to the aftertaste, which could be attributed to a couple of things. I left the stalks on the dead nettles, as they looked so young and green, but they may have been bitter. I have also read that Crow Garlic can have an unpleasant aftertaste, although I didn’t notice it when trying it raw. Anyway, it was nice, just not delicious and what it lacked in refined flavour, it more than made up for in heartiness and healthiness.
Still to find some Ransoms, which is what I was actually looking for yesterday when I stumbled on the alternative Allium bounty 🙂