A girlfriend and I share a love of gardening, although her thumb is a deeper shade of green than mine. Plus she’s way more experimental and scientific.
Every spring, I grab from what is offered locally by nurseries. I get excited just to see a variegated sage, probably because there were years that I couldn’t even find basil plants. Those were some tough years.
Just the other day this girlfriend asked me what to do with sorrel. I had no answer because I’d never grown it. My mother has mentioned sorrel over the years, so I emailed her and she remembers a soup with a roux base, that contained sorrel.
So I had to google sorrel. The description of the taste of sorrel was interesting – it’s not just a spinach or arugula kind of leaf. In fact sorrel and rhubarb are in the same botanical family! It’s got a lemony thing going on; the lemon flavor bursts out of the leaf when you chew it, almost like a squirt of lemon juice.
Some of the leaves had grown quite tall already, and with most leafy plants like lettuces, the baby leaves are good raw, but the older ones should be cooked because they can become bitter. This is especially the case when the weather gets warmer. So I decided to make a soup.
So we harvested it, I gently rinsed the leaves in water, and placed them on a towel to dry.
Before using them in the soup I cut off some of the thicker stems.
Here’s the soup I made, which is a mixture of all the sorrel soups I found online, many of which were called French sorrel soup.
2 ounces unsalted butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 leeks, sliced, white and pale green parts
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 white potatoes, chopped
Sorrel leaves, about 8 ounces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 1/2 cups good chicken broth
Heavy cream, about 4-6 ounces
Heat the butter over medium heat in a soup pot. Have all of the ingredients prepped.
Add the onion, leeks, and garlic to the butter and saute´for about five minutes.
Stir in the potatoes.
Then add the sorrel leaves and a little salt.
Add enough broth just to cover the potatoes. Bring the soup to a gentle boil, then cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
Remove the lid and, if necessary, keep the soup at a gentle simmer to evaporate excess liquid.
When somewhat cooled off, pour the soup into a large blender jar and blend until smooth. Add cream to the mixture and blend until incorporated. Stop at the desired consistency.
Serve hot or warm. I added a little dollop of sour cream and a few chopped chives.
I didn’t add any other seasoning other than salt because I wanted the sorrel flavor to really shine. But a little white pepper would be good.
Cooking the sorrel subdues the lemony flavor, but the soup is still really tasty.
If you can find sorrel and haven’t had it before, I’d first try it in a salad mixed with other greens. That way you can really taste the unique lemon flavor of it.
note: If you don’t want to use white potatoes to thicken the soup, you can use some silken tofu, or drained, canned beans.