If you think the picture above reminds you of slimy green sludge, then I can understand. No, not really. Either way, I urge you to see beyond that and give this soup a try. You will be hooked!
Garden Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a relatively new herb for me. I became interested in this sour, leafy, spinach look-alike herb only in the last year or so, and am very glad I did. I was also very happy to know that Sorrel is a perennial herb. I am an avid gardener, and I am quite partial to perennials. Nothing makes me happier than watching my plants come out of the earth faithfully every spring to say Hello! Simple, but important pleasures.
Sorrel tastes similar to the leaves of a plant (Gongoora) that is a delicacy in Andhra Pradesh, the state in India where my parents are from. I have seen many references to this plant as Red Sorrel, however, I'm not sure Gongoora is a Sorrel, as there are many other references to Gongoora as a member of the Roselle family (Hibiscus cannabinus). Plant taxonomy aside, I do know that Sorrel tastes similar enough to Gongoora (though a bit less sour) that there is many an experiment about to take place in my kitchen; experiments where I will try and re-create some of my favorite Indian Gongoora dishes using the Sorrel varietal we typically find here.
As for today, I decided to make something more ordinary, yet classic. A French style sorrel soup, except the classic french version uses French Sorrel (Rumex scatatus). Not sure how different it tastes from Garden Sorrel we find here, but if you know, I'd love to hear.
As obsessed as I am with food, I am sad to say that I have not been to Paris yet. Can you believe it? J and I need to fix this very very soon. Well, good thing is that the kids are developing a very discerning palate, so soon I think all 4 of us will be able to have a culinary adventure in Paris. Fun!
Ok I'm back. I was dreaming of Paris and what I'd be eating...... Back to the soup, I decided to deviate from authenticity in ode to smaller jeans, so I skimped heavily on butter and cream. Also skipped the egg. However, the end result was still absolutely lick-the-bowl-clean good. Smooth, creamy, velvety, perfectly tart! Sure, more cream and butter would take it over-the-top, but I think I got plenty of butter in the hearty slice of beer bread that accompanied my soup. So much for smaller jeans - c'est la vie.... Bon appetit.
French Style Sorrel Soup
Serves 2 generously
2 handfulls Sorrel (approx 6 oz), chopped roughly
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/2 medium Rusett Potato, diced fine
1 small shallot, diced
2 cups chicken broth
a pinch of fresh nutmeg
4 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
salt to taste
Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Add shallots and a smidgeon of salt. Cook till barely transluscent.
Add sorrel. Cook till sorrel almost dissolves into the onions - about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and the chicken stock. Add nutmeg and pepper.
Cook till potatoes are very tender, and soup thickens just a bit. Blend the soup into a puree using an imersion stick or blender. Add the soup back to the saucepan. The soup should have a nice velvety consistency. If you find that yours is too watery, just cook it a bit longer. Mine was fine as soon as I was done pureeing it.
Once you are satisfied with the soup's seasoning and consistency, reduce heat to a bare simmer and add heavy cream. Leave on heat just enough to heat through. Do not let boil once you've added the cream.
Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with a tsp of cream, or cream fraiche. (I used cream).
Wine Tip: Pair with a good Riesling.