What an odd spring this has been – amazingly, I was able to scrounge a little sorrel and spinach in the second week of April! But since that early warm spell, it’s been cool and things have come along wuite slowly. Still, both those things will be much further along and available around now, with the usual proviso that about the only way sorrel is available is to grow it yourself. Highly recommended!
This is a pretty simple and light soup, best as an introductory course to a larger meal, or served with a sandwich or some such thing. It won’t be a meal in itself, and the servings indicated are fairly small ones.
4 servings45 minutes prep time
2 cups loosely packed fresh sorrel leaves2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
1 small carrot and/or 1 small parsnip1 tablespoon chicken fat or unsalted butter
1 bay leaf1/4 teaspoon allspice berries1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns1/2 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon barley or other flour2 tablespoons finely minced fresh chives1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley1 cup finely minced raw spinach4 cups unsalted chicken OR vegetable stock1/2 cup light cream OR yogurt, optional
Wash the sorrel leaves – it’s a good idea to soak them in cold salted water for a while to draw out any critters. Remove and discard any tough stems and damaged or discoloured leaves. Do the same with the spinach. Put them in a strainer and pour boiling water over them until they are well wilted. Let them cool, squeeze the water from them, and chop them finely.
Peel and dice or grate the carrots and/or parsnip. Heat the butter in the soup pot and add them, along with the bay leaf. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes, covered, but stirring regularly until softened.
Meanwhile, grind the allspice, pepper, and salt together finely. When the vegetables are ready, add them, along with the barley flour and the minced herbs. Mix in well, and after a minute or so to wilt the herbs, add the stock and the chopped, drained sorrel and spinach. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, then mix in the cream or yogurt, if using. Heat to the edge of simmering, but do not let the soup boil, and serve at once. It can also be served plain and a dollop of yogurt – or sour cream, if you can get any – can be added. Or not; it’s fine as-is.