Nettle and green garlic soup – this creamy soup tastes like the spring, with flavors of mild garlic, aromatic dill, and fresh lemon, and is packed with cleansing nutrients and minerals.
We’re officially (and finally) in spring! This whole winter season has dragged on for too long this year. In fact, in true March fashion, we are back to the cold and rain this week, but hopefully today’s recipe will cure some of these March blues.
Continuing with the green streak for a third week in a row, today’s post is about an old spring favorite – nettle and green garlic soup that’s so fresh and tastes like the spring, yet it’s hot and creamy, and perfect for this neurotic weather. But hurry up, it’s such a short season for both nettle and green garlic, so definitely try to take advantage while you can still find them on the market.
If you haven’t had nettle, it has a unique flavor, reminiscent of spinach but more herbal. Most people know it for its medicinal properties, but it can be eaten, or prepared much like spinach – sauteed, creamed, and in soups mostly. In terms of nutrition, however, nettle definitely outshines spinach, with double the amount of iron, magnesium, potassium, and more than 10 times that of calcium! It’s a little known green superstar! A fun fact about nettle, is that it’s one of the oldest plants, harvested for its strong, and quality thread, used in clothes making. In fact, it’s been resurfacing again as a sustainable fabric making crop!
I grew up eating nettle soup every spring, but only maybe once a season. The problem with nettle is its scarcity in urban places. Of course, if you live in a forested area, you can enjoy stinging nettles almost year round. In fact nettles were so abundant in the woods or in overgrown weedy backyards, that as kids we were very familiar with their burning rash, and quickly learned how to recognize them. But don’t worry, use rubber gloves to handle the nettle – just wash it and put it in a pot of boiling water, where it quickly loses its bite.
Traditionally the soup is thickened with a mix of egg yolks and yogurt. Here, I replace the yogurt with fresh lemon juice and that gives the soup a lovely fresh acidity and aroma. There is no cream, or potatoes, and yet the soup is nice and creamy when pureed. I like to serve it with chopped boiled eggs, and fresh dill. It’s also delicious with crumbled feta cheese, or a spoonful of yogurt. I have to admit, I’ve made a few attempts at bribing the kids by serving a bowl of the soup with chopped bacon on top (nice try, mom, but no – thanks!). For a vegan version, add roasted walnuts, and replace the butter with olive oil.
Happy spring, friends!
Nettle and green garlic soup - this creamy soup tastes like the spring, with flavors of mild garlic, aromatic dill, and fresh lemon, and is packed with cleansing nutrients and minerals.
- 1 lbs stinging nettle
- 6 oz green garlic (one bunch, or 3 big stalks)
- 2 Tbs butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
- 4-5 cups liquid (from boiling the nettles)
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 egg yolk
- For serving: chopped boiled eggs, fresh dill, yogurt, feta cheese, bacon, toasted walnuts
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil (about 1 1/2 liter)
Using gloves, wash the nettles, and add the whole bunch in the boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, then take out the nettles, and let cool. Reserve the liquid.
Melt the butter in separate pot, and add the chopped onion. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the chopped green garlic, and dill, salt and black pepper. Cook for another few minutes.
Meanwhile, discard the woodsy stems of the nettles, and preserve the leaves, and softer stalks. Return the nettles to the pot, and add 4-5 cups of the reserved liquid in which it was boiled.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.
Mix the egg yolk with the lemon juice, and when the soup has cooled down, add it to the pot. Note: If the soup is still hot, temper the egg mixture first by slowly adding a few tablespoons of the hot liquid first.
Puree the soup in a blender to the desired consistency. Adjust salt, and pepper, and add more lemon juice if needed.
Serve, garnished with chopped boiled eggs, feta cheese, and/or a dollop of yogurt. Optionally, you can serve it with bacon, and for a vegan version, top with roasted walnuts.