This soup is a great late spring/early summer food for folks that like to gather their eats in the wilds.
Combining two relatively abundant wild foods in one dish is a great way to jazz up a meal. This recipe comes from Germany. Being a fan of both wild food and German Food I absolutely had to try this soup. Gathering the nettles is the most challenging aspect of putting this soup together. I was able to pick the nettles sting free by using the scissors on my Swiss army knife, a pack basket and gravity. When making the soup, I did not have any spinach in the garden so I substituted Swiss Chard as the two have a similar taste. Plus, the Swiss and the Germans get along, so I figured the ingredients would compliment each other in the soup. My wife highly recommends the soup.
1 ½ cup baby spinach or Swiss Chard
½ cup stinging nettles leaves
¾ cup watercress
1 medium onion
3 small potatoes
4 cups vegetable stock
1 strip unwaxed lemon zest
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon cold butter
Wash and drain the spinach or Swiss chard. Blanch the spinach or chard and the nettles separately for about 1 minute. Then plunge into ice water. Drain well, squeezing leaves and then finely chop.
Wash drain and finely chop the watercress. Since water cress comes from creeks, I spray the watercress with vinegar before washing to hopefully remove any gut flushing bacteria.
Peel the onion and potato. Finely chop and add to vegetable broth. Simmer for 20 or minutes or until the onion and potatoes are soft and tender. Add cream and blend with immersion blender. Add lemon zest. Let zest infuse for a few minutes and then remove it.
Peel and finely chop the garlic. Shortly before serving, add the spinach or chard, nettles, watercress, garlic, and butter. Again, blend with immersion blender. Let stand for 3 minutes. Then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Serve immediately.
I don’t have an immersion blender so I strained the onion and potatoes out of the broth after it was done and then ran the potatoes, onion, garlic, nettles, chard and watercress with a bit of broth through my blender. After blending, it all went back in the kettle for three minutes before serving. Also, to save time, I started the broth, potatoes and onions cooking and then blanched the chard and nettles.