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Sorrel Soup

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This simple soup lets the tart taste of sorrel shine through. Top each serving with a spoonful of crème fraîche or sour cream, if you like.

NotesSorrel:

Nancy and Robin Gammon of Four Sisters Farm devote two acres of their five-acre organic farm to growing greens. Although they allow and encourage many wild greens to grow that they then harvest, they cultivate many others, including common or garden sorrel, sometimes known as sour grass.

This slender plant, with juicy stems and long, spear-shaped leaves, has an acidic green apple-lemon taste that can be an intense tart counterpoint to rich or creamy flavors. It is most often cooked to tame its tartness, but a few small, young uncooked leaves can brighten the flavor of a green salad. When sorrel’s vibrant green leaves are cooked, they change to a drab olive green and melt into a delicious purée.

Season:

In Northern California, the growing season is almost year-round for this perennial. Although it may disappear from the market in midwinter, it will return again in early spring.

Choosing:

Select bright green, crisp leaves with no sign of yellow. Limpness can be a sign of age or improper handling. Remember that a large bunch of sorrel will cook down to a small flavorful puree, so be sure to buy enough.

Storing:

Wrap the unwashed greens in a paper towel, slip into a perforated plastic bag, and store in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator. They will keep for up to 1 week.

Preparing:

Just before using, rinse the greens in a large bowl of cold water, lifting them to allow any dirt to sink to the bottom. Repeat with fresh batches of cold water until no more dirt is visible. Shake off the excess water and allow the greens to air dry on paper towels. Strip and discard the stems from the leaves. Use a stainless-steel knife to chop the leaves. A carbon-steel knife will react with the oxalic acid present in the leaves, causing them to discolor.

Serves4

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturesavory, tart

Type of Dishhot soup, soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 or 4 leeks, white part only, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock, or as needed
  • 2 bunches sorrel, stemmed and chopped
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the potato and 4 cups stock, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the potato is very soft, about 20 minutes.

  2. Add the sorrel and cook for a minute or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, ladle into warmed bowls, garnish with the chives, and serve hot.

  3. Or, after adding the sorrel and cooking for a minute or so, let the soup cool slightly and, working in batches if necessary, puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. If serving hot, pour the pureed soup into a clean pan and reheat until piping hot, adding stock if needed to achieve a good consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, ladle into warmed bowls, and garnish with the chives. To serve chilled, pour the pureed soup into a bowl, thin with a little stock if needed to achieve a good consistency, let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until well chilled. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, ladle into chilled bowls, and garnish with the chives.

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