Springtime Soup! Nettle, Mint and Sour Cream!
This is a original recipe. I normally make Nettle Soup about two times each spring and was thinking of ways to jazz up the more traditional Nettle, Potato, Onion and Milk recipes you will find elsewhere. It was very much a success the flavours work really well, and it is easily being the best soup I have created myself. It feels pretty good going out on a sunny Spring morning, spending half an hour gathering and then making a nice soup with some fresh bread for a couple of friends. If you eat meat, the Pancetta cubes are essential, biting into the crispy but juicy cubes adds a whole extra layer of enjoyment to an already very good soup, as does the dollop of Sour Cream at the end.
Now is the perfect time to pick Nettles, the tips are a good few inches off the ground so no dirt but at the same time they are as tender as they will get and should not have been attacked by any insects yet, they will still be good through to April but not all that great afterwards. When picking them you want to wear some thick gloves and have a cotton/cloth bag rather than plastic to put them in as they will take a lot longer to wilt this way. You only want the very top shoots, the unfurled tip down to the first bracket of fully open leaves but no more, as everything else below will be quite a bit tougher and have less flavour.
– Recipe –
1/2 an Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, crushed and chopped
2 slices Bacon, chopped roughly
1/3 of a carrier bag of Nettle Tops, most of the storks removed
2 medium sized Potatoes, cubed
3/4 of a cup of Peas
4 tablespoons dried Mint (or a good sized handful of chopped fresh Mint)
Beef Stock (or Water and a Stock Cube)
100-200g Pancetta Cubes
about 150-200ml Sour Cream
- Fry the Onion, Garlic and Bacon with a knob of Butter. Add the Nettle Tops and stir/press down till they have all wilted.
- Mix in the Potato, Peas, Mint then cover over with Stock and add Salt and Pepper to taste. Simmer till the Potato is soft.
- Begin to fry the Pancetta while the potato softens, add any liquid from it into the main soup pot and then reserve the Pancetta when crispy and golden.
- Add the Sour Cream to the soup, blend briefly, and then serve with the Pancetta, a dollop of Sour Cream and some Parsley on top.
Enjoy with some Crusty Bread!