Cooking with wild plants from the Neantog Kitchen: Nettle Soup
Following on from Hans Wieland’s great piece on using weeds from our summer issue, we decided we’d share some of Gaby’s great recipes. More coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled for updates on Facebook and Twitter.
Nettles are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are rich in Vitamin B complex, Beta-carotene (Vitamin A), Vitamin C. They help to increase your energy and contain high amounts of iron, chlorophyll and copper. Alaria is very mild tasting and rich in calcium.
- 15-30 cm/6-12 inch piece Alaria seaweed (wakame), soaked for 30 minutes in just enough lukewarm water to cover it, and chopped finely – optional
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or 55g/2 oz butter
- 1 small or medium onion
- 150 -200g/5-7 oz young nettle leaves
- 250g cooked potatoes or parsnips, peeled and diced
- 900ml/1 ½ pints of milk or rice milk or oats milk
- 1 tsp each of chopped fresh marjoram, sage and lemon thyme (1/2 tsp if dried)
- 1 dessertspoon fresh chopped lovage (1/2 tsp if dried) – optional
- 2 tsp vegetable stock powder such as Marigold
- ½-1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp cream (optional)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Wear gloves and handle the nettle plants with care – they sting. Pick only the fresh young leaves at the top of the nettle. Never use a nettle that is in flower. Remove stalks and wash leaves.
- Heat the oil in saucepan, add chopped onion and cook gently over moderate heat until transparent. Add the nettles and alaria and soaking water and cook gently for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped potatoes or parsnips, the herbs, the milk or rice milk, vegetable stock powder and sea salt and simmer for another 10 minutes. Blend until smooth.
- Ladle into bowls; add a dash of the cream if desired and some chopped parsley. Enjoy!
Tip Instead of potatoes or parsnips you can use celeriac, sweet potatoes or turnips. If nettles are unavailable, use fresh spinach and grate a little nutmeg in towards the end of cooking.
Note: Make sure the nettles you are collecting are away from roadsides.
© Gaby Wieland – author of “Neantog Cookbook-Gaby’s Favourite Recipes”