A green soup
We are approaching the ‘hungry gap’, a time of the year when winter crops are running low and there isn’t much to be harvested. In the UK it usually falls around the months of April and May. This is, however, a good time for the greens – in the wild and in your garden. You can find nettles, and wild garlic growing in parks and woodlands. You can also make use of some overwinted salad leaves such as rocket, landcress, winter purslane, spinach or similar.
The base of the soup is made of potatoes, which is then livened up by adding a whole lot of green leaves at the very end so that the soup turns vibrant green. It’s all blended at the end into a smooth puree. The idea of the green soup is that you can use any kind of leftover salad leaves. It is important to season this soup well especially if you are using water instead of a vegetable broth. Salt will help bring out the flavours of the other ingredients.
- 1 onion
- 2-3 average size potatoes
- 200-250 g ( or 2-3 good handfuls) green leaves such as spinach, chard, wild garlic, nettles, wilted salad leaves
- 1 l veg stock or water
- 2 tbsp oil/butter
- 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice (or to taste)
1. Finely chop the onion. Wash the green leaves and remove tough stems from the leaves. Peel potatoes, quarter and slice them.
2. Heat a pot with oil or butter and add chopped onion. Cook with the lid on until soft. Try not to brown it. This process is called sweating and what it does is allow the onion to release its sweetness without adding any colour.
3. Add potatoes and then water or stock. Season well.
4. Bring to the boil and then simmer until potatoes are soft, around 15 minutes.
5. Add the green leaves and cook for no more than 2-3 minutes. Blend it into a smooth puree. Adjust the seasoning and add the acid (vinegar or lemon juice) to balance out flavours.
6. You can add one of the toppings to the soup to make it more flavoursome: lemon zest, pesto, herb butter, sour cream, double cream, toasted seeds, toasted almonds.