I like to walk hedgerows and bridal paths nearby and watch them as spring develops.
On Sunday (early April) I took a walk in the spring rain to find some spring greens for a soup.
One of the best known and used are ramsons or wild garlic.
It has a pungent smell and nothing else smells like it.. so shouldn’t be too easy to get wrong, but as always, be sure.
The flavour after cooking is much milder than the aroma.
I took about a dozen leaves and saved some back for later use.
New nettles looking vibrant and splashed with spring rain can be irresistable
so I picked a few nettle tops.
The tops are more tender than the lower stems which can be a lot tougher and less pleasant. You need to pick before there are any signs of flowers.
I took about half a carrier back but only used half this and used the rest to make teas.
The rest of the ingredients were store cupboard/food waste rescue.
Recipe for foragers spring green hearty soup
6-8 ramson leaves -save a few flowers/flowerbuds for decoration
around 10 nettle tops
650g bag of frozen broad beans
150g green lentils
75g organic camargue or brown rice
I added a handful of chopped baby leeks from the garden could add a spring onion or half a tender leek
1 -1.5 litres of chicken or veg stock
First wash all of the leaves thoroughly
If you find a garlic bulb (looks more like the bottom of a spring onion than a shop bought one!) then plant it in the garden (waste not want not!)
Bring a pan of water to the boil and prepare a bowl with ice for blanching
Boil the nettle leaves for around 5 minutes and plunge into the icy water to keep their colour
Add the ramsons to a heavy bottomed pan with a knob of butter and soften for a few minutes
Toss in the nettles and stir in a little stock
Puree with a hand blender, retain a little for decoration later (it’s a beautiful green colour)
Toss in the broad beans, lentils and rice with the rest of the stock and stir occasionally whilst cooking down
Add more stock/lentils for thickening/thinning if required
Retain a cup/half cup of this mixture
Chop and fry the onion and leek/spring onion let it begin to brown and sweeten, retain some for garnish
Add the rest to mixture
Blitz with a hand held blender as you like it
Return the saved mixture to the pan to add texture and show off your ingredients
Serve with a swirl of creme fraiche and a swirl of the bright green saved nettle and ransom mix
Add some flowers/buds for decoration and sprinkle with the onions
It was very good, puts a glow on your cheeks and a smile on your face
I had some with early purple sprouting broccoli tips too from my neighbours garden a nutty quality that was so good with this soup 🙂
we had it with pasta too, I think it would adapt well for a few pasta dishes