Recently, I spent time on Pender Island with my friend, Anne, at her cabin. Our husbands remained at home – Bill in Cowichan Bay, involved with boat projects, and Tony in Vancouver, involved with urban projects.
It was my return-to-the-land experience, after 32 years away from the Kootenays. Anne and I spent time walking, talking, cooking, gardening, and foraging.
One morning, after gardening, we set out on a search for nettles in Anne and Tony’s woods, armed with rubber gloves and scissors. We returned with enough nettle tops to make a batch of Nettle-Potato Soup. This soup is best made in the spring when the nettles are young and tender. Otherwise, spinach, kale, or Swiss chard will do quite nicely.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, or 1 tbsp. oil and 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 – 3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
- A few handfuls of nettle tops (use gloves!), or other leafy greens, chopped roughly
- 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Pinch or two of chili pepper flakes, if you like a bit of ‘heat’
- Plain Greek yoghurt for garnish
- In a large skillet, sauté the onion and potatoes in the oil.
- Turn down the heat and cook, covered, for a few minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown.
- Heat the broth in a large pot and add the nettles. Cook until wilted and soft.
- Add the potato-onion mix, salt and pepper, and chili pepper flakes.
- Cover the pan and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- If you want a smooth soup, blend with an immersion blender, or by batches in a blender.
- Serve the soup hot in bowls, each with a swirl of yoghurt (opt).