The first green gleanings from the garden go into this savory soup!
Spring's green things are surging up in the gardens around the Cottage. Good things. Healthful things. And things I want to eat! So I went a-gathering and this is what I came up with.
Recipe: Spring Gleanings Green Soup (serves 4)
2 cups fresh nettles, chopped
1 cup fresh dandelion leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped leeks, sliced
6 cups water, chicken, or vegetable broth
4 potatoes, washed, peeled, and diced (if the potatoes are organic you may wish to leave the skins on)
1/2 cup onion greens, sliced
1/8 cup garlic greens, sliced
Salt & pepper to taste
Dash of red pepper flakes, if desired
Drizzle of olive oil, pat of butter, or a bit of coconut oil, optional
Pour the water or broth into a large sauce pan. Add the diced potatoes and sliced leeks. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Add the chopped nettles, dandelion leaves, green onions, and garlic greens.
Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Simmer soup until potatoes are tender. Using a hand held potato masher, mash the soup until about half the potatoes are mashed, leaving some in chunks. Serve the soup hot with a drizzle of olive oil, butter, or a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. The hot soup will melt the coconut oil.
This soup is hearty, savory, satisfying, and just right after a winter of frozen, canned, and dehydrated foods. It's a tonic soup that's filled with healthful greens from the garden.
I grow two kinds of perennial "scallions". One type is a true scallion sometimes called a "bunching" onion. The other type is the Egyptian topsetting onion which is a scallion-like green onion that grows small clusters of onion bulbs at the tops of its greens .Both types are quick to emerge from dormancy early in Spring.
The garlic planted last Fall is just now sending up its green, strappy leaves. I snipped some of the leaves for the soup.
Dandelion leaves were snipped from plants in the front gardens. While I gathered the dandelions the Chicken Girls were hopping up and down at the gate dancing for some dandelions.
Taking pity on the Girls, I gathered them some too, and tossed them over the gate. They skirmished madly for their share.
Once upon a time, I had dandelions growing in the back garden but the Girls have eaten them all over the past several years. Chickens love young, tender dandelion leaves which are good for them and make their eggs extra nutritious.
Then, I went into the kitchen garden for some stinging nettles planted there. Spring nettle greens, newly emerged from their Winter mulch of leaves, are tasty, healthy, and full of green goodness, vitamins, and minerals. These calcium-rich greens are a welcome addition to spring soups, casseroles, pasta dishes, and teas. Spring nettles don't pack as much of a sting as they will later in the season.
Gather the nettles by grasping their leaf tips and snipping the tops with scissors. The stems are more likely to sting than the tender top leaves. Later in the season wearing gloves prevents getting stung. However, if the nettles are approached with respect and care they can be easily gathered without gloves.
The sting of nettles becomes less frightening the more one works with them. I believe that the fear of the sting is worse than the actual sensation which to me feels more like a buzzing than a stinging. The sensation can last for several hours and can be allieviated with aloe vera gel if it seems troublesome.
Steaming, boiling, sauteing, and steeping the nettle leaves and tender young stems removes the sting. As soon as the leaves and stems wilt down the sting is gone. Nettles make a great, green tea...or a nice healthful addition to green or herbal teas, as well.
The leeks I used for the soup were harvested last Fall, sliced and frozen. The potatoes were purchased from the market as I've run out of potatoes harvested from last Fall's garden.
I make this soup every spring several times. It's mineral- and vitamin-rich, tasty, and satisfying. I look forward to it all Winter! And finally, finally, after a long Winter, it's time to make and enjoy it!
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