Nursing a mild hangover and in need of a wholesome meal with minimal input, I wondered outside in search of ingredients. Nettles were the first obvious choice, along with a bunch of Three-Cornered Leeks, a few Dandelion leaves, a handful of Herb Robert and lastly, a first for me, Cleavers.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever you like, I added potato and onion to bulk it up. I hadn’t tried cleavers before, and was remarking to a friend that I was put off by the sticky burr-ness of the leaves, but as she pointed out, I eat nettles without being stung, so could possibly eat cleavers without being sticked! And indeed there was nothing burry in the soup but I would like to try them on their own next time, to get a better idea of the taste and texture.
I add Herb Robert to many dishes, soups, pasta sauces, even smoothies. I usually pick it fresh from the garden but have also dried it for use through the winter. It doesn’t add any particular flavour for me but I have read many claims of medicinal value, so included it for health.
I only added a few dandelion leaves, again for the health benefits rather than taste, as they can be bitter but was not noticeable in this recipe. Three-cornered leeks, add a wonderful flavour, being of the onion (allium) family and nettles just seem to work in most dishes!
You can blend this soup but I prefer my soups as a broth with bits in it… although, there’s probably a more culinary term for that!
- 1 or 2 potatoes (unpeeled)
- 1 onion
- wild herbs of choice
- 1tbs olive oil
- tsp vegetable bouillon (to taste)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soak the fresh leaves in a large bowl of water to remove any dirt
Peel the onion and wash the potatoes to remove any dirt.
Add the oil to a pan and heat on low while you chop the onion (I chop it finely but can be chunkier if blending or preferred).
Add the onion to the pan and fry gently, stirring occasionally whilst chopping the potatoes into cubes. (smaller will cook quicker!)
When the onion is softened, add the potato and begin to prepare your wild greens by washing thoroughly and shaking off excess water.
The potato may begin to stick to the bottom of the pan, add a little of the water and stir to loosen.
Add enough water to form the base of the soup (about 1pint), you can use hot water to speed up the cooking process. Season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer until potatoes are fully cooked.
Roughly chop the greens, removing any large woody stems and add to the soup. (I added the three-cornered leeks towards the end as they need less cooking time, same goes for wild garlic.)
Once the greens begin to look done, have a taste of the broth, you can also try the leaves to see if they are tender enough for your liking. Add seasoning to taste. (see notes)
Once you are happy with the flavouring and tenderness of the leaves you can either blend the soup or serve it as it is, with some fresh bread. I like to sprinkle engevita nutritional yeast on the top for extra umami!
I prefer my soups to be flavoured through the ingredients, so quite often add just water and seasoning but for this one I added about half a teaspoonful of bouillon powder when I tasted it.
You could also add other herbs and spices. Any fresh herbs you have in the garden such as bay, rosemary or parsley would work well.
For a more substantial meal, you could add grains such as rice, or pasta, beans or lentils.
I Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know in the comments if you tried it and what changes you made, if any. What kind of edible plants did you find in the garden?
Happy Foraging Foodies!