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Thursday 27 October 2011

Sluttishly Savoury: Stinging Nettle and Nutmeg Soup

There's something about the onset of winter that makes soups a staple in our diets. Now I live "in the sticks" (a few mile outside of central Brighton is, to a city girl, officially sticks-ville), I have been determined to forage the land and make something wholesome.

Now, I missed blackberry season because ... well, frankly I have no idea when it is. And I haven't got round to crabbing or foraging for cockles and mussels because the idea kinda freaks me out (something that I intend to overcome!). However, at the end of my garden, where neat lawn meets brushland, there are stinging nettles. A whole darn heap of them. So, for your entertainment (and eating pleasure - I promise!) I have been stung about a zillion times harvesting said nettles for this delicious old-school soup. It's actually really delicious.

You'll need:
  • 450g of potatoes (peeled)
  • 225g of nettles
  • One onion
  • Big pinch of salt
  • Big pinch of black pepper
  • Big pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 litre stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • Butter for frying
Make it!
  • Get your potatoes peeled, chopped and bubbling in a pan of slightly salted water. You can bitterly consider the insanely disproportionate rise in profits of energy companies whilst you do this, if you like.
  • Pop some butter into a hot frying pan and get it bubbling. Chop your onion and fry until the flesh starts to go translucent.
  • Add the nettles to the pan. I tend to trim the leaves from the stalks and discard the stalks but you don't have to, as they'll all get blended later.
  • You need to fry the nettles for about 10 minutes to neutralise the sting. After about 8 minutes I add the nutmeg, pepper, salt and cream to the nettles, stir briskly then bring off the heat.
  • Take your tender potatoes out of their water and return them to their pan. Add the stock and the nettle mix and blend.
  • Serve piping hot with a sprig of nettle on top for decoration (just remember to remove it before you eat!)


  1. the ingredients to this remind me of that old fairy tale where a man sells a stupid person a stone because he claims it will make delicious soup, and it turns out the stone does indeed make delicious soup, if you just add some stock, onions, herbs etc.
    this may be nettle soup but it's got a damn sight more delicious potato, onion and stock to help it out.

  2. I love foraging. It is so satisfying. Although I am a little scared of the nettles.
    What do they taste like?

  3. I think that's true of any soup, Emma! I don't think whipped up broccoli would taste nice without the rest of the stuff to go with it.


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