Fresh Sorrel is also really difficult to get hold of. I tried growing it myself, but I chose the pretty red veined variety, rather unfortunately named Bloody Sorrel, and although it looks beautiful, it had a rather unpleasant taste. Good fresh sorrel should have a delicious tart, lemony tang. Here I have combined it with lentils and crème fraiche to make a delicious soup. Unfortunately, sorrel when cooked, changes from its vibrant green colour to a sludgy grey green, so it never looks that inviting, but give it a try. It tastes great!
Sorrel and Lentil Soup with Crème Fraiche
1 clove garlic
1 red onion (finely chopped)
Glug of extra virgin olive oil
60g fresh sorrel (leaves stripped from the stems)
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cover the lentils with plenty of cold water – about 3 times the volume of the lentils. Add the peeled garlic clove and cook gently for about 20 minutes or so, until soft. Meanwhile, sweat the onion in the olive oil over a low heat for 10 minutes or so. When the lentils are cooked, add to the onion with the water. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the sorrel leaves to the lentils, ensuring they are covered in water. If not, add a little more. Bring back to the boil and cook for a minute or two until the sorrel turns grey green. Remove from the heat and puree with a hand blender. Add enough water to get a nice consistency. Check seasoning. Serve hot with a big table spoon of crème fraiche in each bowl.
Finally some real sunshine at the weekend, almost summeresque and as always in the heat, I get to thinking about chilled soup.
Here is a recipe for one of the best and a great use-up of any salad leaves you happen to have. You can use anything from rocket to batavia, watercress to baby gem. I like a big handful of fresh spinach too, for a beautiful deep green hue. There is baby spinach in the boxes now so you can just chuck it straight in. Don’t forget the herbs. I particularly like basil or chives. For the base you can use spring onions, leeks or bunched onions, whatever you have. The potatoes can be any variety too and you don’t even have to serve it chilled – it is delicious hot too!
Chilled Salad Soup with Crème Fraiche & Herbs
Good glug of extra virgin olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped (could be a few spring onions)
250g potatoes, peeled and chopped into even sized pieces
450g to 500g assorted green lettuce & salad leaves (such as batavia or baby gem lettuce, sorrel, watercress, rocket, spinach and nettles)
Herbs of your choice – mint, chives, basil etc,
250ml Crème Fraiche
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Sweat the onion down in a good glug of extra virgin olive oil for about 10 minutes or so until just beginning to colour. Add the potatoes and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for about another 10 minutes or so. Cover with water and cook just until the potatoes are soft. Add more water if necessary. Remove from the heat and stir in all the greens/herbs and whiz up with a hand blender. Adjust the consistency. It should not be gloopy but also not too thin. Add the Crème Fraiche and check seasoning. Serve hot or cold. You can add a swirl more of Crème Fraiche or add a few freshly chopped herbs.