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:

Print this recipe



  • 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)


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.


  1. Shira says:

    This is amazing….reminding me of spring nettle picking with my mother growing up! These were two greens we ate a lot of as kids, they are free and both incredibly nutritious! Thank you for the memories Anastasia…wonderful!

  2. Lian Munday says:

    It looks fantastic – now I know I’ve been cultivating stinging nettles in my back garden haha… I’ll be giving this a go but maybe without the potatoes – I’m have to be starch free!

  3. lightbox3d says:

    I was Sooo going to make this until I saw it has stinging nettle in the ingredients..are u kidding me?!? We called it “Sting Weed” growing up in Holland. p.s. Vegetarians are GREAT cooks (Example: my wife). p.s.s Hunger Games was AWESOME. Just finished it yesterday and started the second one about 10 seconds later.

    • Anastasia says:

      Hunger Games is AWFUL! It’s so horrific – I couldn’t sleep – all my dreams were about my kids being killed! And it’s so addictive – I finished it in two nights, and of course kindled the second one!

  4. decorartuk says:

    Everyone seems to have gone “green” mad. I’ll have to show this recipe to my mum, who has just started reading Vadim Zeland’s books and is talking about trying to give up meat completely (at the moment I don’t think this will work…).

    P.S. The nettles haven’t come up here yet, so we will have to wait a month or two.
    P.P.S. Just wondering what part of Russia your “babushka” came from.

    • Anastasia says:

      She actually was born right next to Ukraine but spent most of her adult life in Central part of Russia a couple hours South of Moscow. Where are you guys from? Both of the portfolios on your blog look amazing!

      • decorartuk says:

        Thank you, Anastasia – there’s so much nice stuff on the internet these days that to get a rating of “amazing” is a big honour!

        We are actually Lithuanian based in the UK, so as you can imagine we know quite a lot about Russia and its culture. Reading your posts on Russian recipes I find lots of foods that we used to make or still make. Anyway, I think it’s good that you haven’t forgotten your roots, your children will only benefit from that.

  5. scrumptious says:

    Sorrel soup is my absolute favoritest Russian dish. So much so that when I lived there people made fun of me a little about it, or at least it was something I was known for. I haven’t had it in the US, ever. I feel inspired to keep an eye out for sorrel at the farmer’s market now, or maybe even seek some out. It’s been a while since I’ve made my pilgrimage to the Russian markets here. (Now that I’m vegan and gluten-free there’s I do more yearning than shopping when I go!)

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

    • Anastasia says:

      The Ferry Building Saturday farmers market has sorrel – the “kiwi” lady (the one outside, on the corner next to meat guys) sells it! The soup brings so many good memories to me, I wish the same to you, I assume, fellow San Franciscan!? Drop the eggs, and you get the vegan version!

  6. angelasommers says:

    This reminds me of my childhood in Austria – we picked lots of sorrel for soup and nettles as well – wonderful memories, and thank you for the recipe – I had no idea you could actually by these things here! :)

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