Russian Friday – It stings and burns and breaks spells

Four days with no meat and we haven’t turned green yet!  Apparently there are some delicious choices in the vegetarian world! Who would have thought!!!

This recipe is a combination of two summer soups my babushka used to make.  Baby Pea and I hit the jackpot at the San Francisco Ferry Building farmers market – nettle and sorrel!  I wasn’t patient enough to cook separate meals with all that goodness on my hands. 

One has to be extra careful when playing with nettle as it … ouch!!! stings!  with skin burns and everything.  If you are in New Zealand, I’d stay away from nettle all together, since you have some scary poisonous stuff growing there.  

On my part, however, there are no doubts in nettle’s healing powers.  Not because of what I find in Wikipedia , but because I grew up believing a shirt made out of nettle (especially the kind that grows by graveyards boo-ha-ha) can break evil spells. I’m talking of pour Elisa’s story from Anderson’s “Wild Swans” of course.

Fairy tales aside, the soup is magic in its own right. Here is how to make it:

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SORREL-NETTLE SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 cups of water or your favorite stock
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch of sorrel
  • 1 bunch of stinging nettle
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 tsp sour cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Bring water or stock to a boil.  Add potatoes and let boil on  low heat for about 10 minutes.  If desired, sauté onions and carrots, add them to the soup.

Meanwhile boil about 3 cups of water.  Carefully place nettle in a colander, and pour boiling water over it.  Your nettle should not be stingy any more!

Remove stems and chop sorrel and the nettle, divide between the soup bowls.

Shell the eggs and dice them. Distribute with the sorrel/nettle mixture.

Once the potatoes are cooked, adjust the broth flavor with salt and pepper,  pour the soup into the bowls.  The sorrel leaves will turn brown and very soft, while nettle will release it’s special flavor and get even brighter and greener.

Serve with sour cream if desired.


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