Monday, March 17, 2008

Is this a European dish?

After my temper tantrum over the weekend, Sam suggested I try a nettle soup - nutrients, vitamins, that sort of thing, and...I had to admit that I've never had it. When I Googled for recipes, I got all manner of recipes from the Brits and the French for this dish but nothing readily North American.

What I'm looking for are comments from those who have #1 MADE this dish and #2 from those who have EATEN it. For instance, what goes well with it? How do you keep from stinging the crap outta yourself while preparing the dish? Tongs seem out of place here.

***addendum***go to end of this post to get link to Sam's, where she makes the soup and has photos to back up what she's demonstrating - it's kewl***

Thanks to Sam, I did come away from my search with some new recipe blogs - lol. I'm all about those.

Just the title of this one intrigued me. Chocolate and Zucchini - I recently made my favorite Chocolate Zucchini Cake, which might have something to do with it.

Then there was this one. Bean Sprouts - What hooked me wasn't her nettle soup recipe but her talk about sodding cabbage - ROFLMAO. Then I looked, and damn if she didn't appear to have a good recipe on making cabbage, which doesn't seem to be anyone's favorite food - at least no one in my circles. So now I want to try that one.

Back to what I discovered about Nettle Soup. Most recipes called for nutmeg. Why the nutmeg, I wondered? They also said that sour cream could be substituted for cashews, which COMPLETELY floored me - I'm just not seeing the significant relationship, I guess, between nuts and sour cream.

This seemed to be the gist of everyone's recipe:

Peel a couple of floury potatoes, dice, and simmer in half a pint of duck stock (if you don't have duck stock you'll have to use a chicken or vegetarian stock cube) and half a pint of milk. Whilst it's boiling, go outside and collect a breakfast bowl full of nettle tops - the top 4-6 young leaves of each plant. Give them a rinse and pick out any "extras", then add them whole to the potatoes. When the potatoes are tender, whizz it all up with a stick blender. Stir in plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve with a swirl of home-made yogurt (or cream, or creme fraiche, or whatever you've got).

Okay, let's pretend that I'm a wanna-be but that I'm not actually a gourmet cook by anyone's standards, that I've never lived outside the USA, and that I wouldn't know a nettle from a dildo, other than that both are pricks of a sort.

People actually have 'nettles' in their backyard??? Not in a garden but just...wild? Like...dandelions?

Is a "floury potato" something like gnocci???

I find this whole thing about cooking with a plant that can sting the hell out of you...well, intriguing. Animals, one would expect to put up some resistence before going into a boiling pot of water or stock. But a plant????? says this:

Not so many people eat them nowadays, but in times past they were an important fall back when food was really scarce. They also provided a welcome change from the unrelenting monotony of plain potato soup which comprised a large part of the diet of poorer people, providing a free, tasty and nutritious addition.

DoChara also has this as her list of ingredients.

1 bag of nettles
2 medium sized potatoes, diced
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
I stick celery, sliced into small pieces (optional)
2 cups (1 pint) stock
1 cups (½ pint) milk
Small knob of butter
Salt and pepper
My question is - what the hell is knob? HOW BIG? - lol Lady Ridley (another reason I'm wondering if this is a European dish) calls for 2 oz of butter.
1 lb potatoes
½ lb young nettles
2 oz butter
1½ pts chicken or vegetable stock
sea salt & black pepper
4 tablespoons sour cream
Okay. Sunny is going back to Google to see if she can make sense of these recipes. Feedback on cooking with nettles is welcome at this stage.
* * *
Now that I've blogged what I was up to - go check out Sam's post today - she has photos and all kinds of good info for making her Nettle Soup!
Samantha Winston
Monday, March 17, 2008
Nettle Soup



At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eating nettles. Really.

Nettles are the things that attacked my toes when I buried them in the cooler sand on the hot, hot, hot Oklahoma days when I was forced to pick peaches in my grandpa's orchard!

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

>>1 bag of nettles

Maybe at Whole FOods? LOL I dunno hon that's a new one on me too!

At 1:29 AM, Blogger Merry said...

A floury potato is one of the large white ones. The larger they are the more "flour" texture they have when cooked. Basically, its a baking potato.

Hope that helps...

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

That helps a LOT, Merry!!!!!

Okay, so you other midwesterners (other than Mer - lol) haven't had nettle soup either, I take it.

Okay, now a nettle sounds more like a sand burr.

I'm sure that my Native American grandmothers (who were Medicine Women for our tribe) are somewhere shaking their heads and groaning that I don't know what a freakin' nettle is.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Sam said...

I made the soup and blogged about it, with recipe. It was delicious!
Go look! And I didn't get stung once picking (with gloves - snipped he tops off with scissors directly into the colandar) or washing (with tongs, in the colandar,) or cutting (scissors again) or cooking - - -

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Sending folks over to your place - and I'll post there myself - THANKS, SAM!

At 7:29 AM, Blogger Lyvvie said...

Floury potatoes are breeds (species? I'm not sure what one would use) and suit different menus. I copied this from

All purpose
Used where no particular potato type is specified. All purpose types include Desiree, Maris Piper, Wilja.

These are perfect for baking, chips, mashing and roasting as they have a low moisture and sugar content, and are high in starch. Floury types include King Edward, Marfona, Maris Piper.

These are generally cooked in their skins, preferably boiled, and have a slightly waxy texture. Salad types include Jersey Royal, Charlotte.

These are best roasted or boiled but don't mash well, because they have a high moisture content and are low in starch. Waxy types include Charlotte, Kipfler, Cara.

Also, I wanted to add that I follow almost the exact recipe but for Kale soup rather than nettles.

Last; a knob of butter is about two pats. That's how I figure it.

There are people who eat nettles raw. It turns your mouth black when you do it.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Lord, Lyvvie - THANK YOU - lol - I know it's probably dumb and anal as Monk, but wondering precisely what a knob of butter was...well, it was driving me a little nuts.

Raw nettles turn your mouth black? - ewww - and just the THOUGHT of raw ones! *shiver*

Kale - now I have an Irish friend who turned me on to kale. Haven't had that in a while, but he swore by kale's nutritional value.

And now I know a lot about potatoes that I didn't - really - THANK YOU!!! I think we North Americans really only have 2 kinds of potatoes on the brain - red or gold (certainly not their classifications) - and I don't know ANYONE in my circle (other than Merry) who would know about water density and such things in them.

Quite interesting.


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