Chickpea & Nettle Soup
This is a hearty and satisfying soup. It is filling and warming, richly peppered with warm aromatic spices. This soup is a lovely addition to a cool spring evening.
Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
A baking potato, peeled and diced
Two white onions, peeled and sliced
Garlic to your liking
Spices such as cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, or star anise
Lots of fresh nettle tops
A can of chickpeas
Vegetable stock, six cups
Making soup isn't particularly difficult. Experiment with these ingredients and have fun making this soup.
Lightly fry the spices in the oil until they become aromatic. Don't overheat them, this will change their flavor. Remove the spices and add the onion and fry in the oil until soft. Then throw in the potatoes. Cook for a just a couple minutes before covering with stock. Heat to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked then blend the soup.
Wash the nettles removing any thick stems and any dirt. Wear gloves for this part of the process. Cook them in rapidly boiling salt water then drain them in a colander. Chop up the nettles and add them to the soup. Pour in the can of drained chickpeas. Heat throughly and serve.
In Indian cuisine potato and spinach is a mainstay. It is know as aloo saag, literally "potato and spinach". This recipe simply replaces the spinach with stinging nettles giving the dish a fresh and delicious flavor.
One large white onion, finely chopped
Three cloves of garlic, finely chopped
One teaspoon of mustard seeds
Two teaspoons black onion seeds
Two teaspoons fenugreek seeds
Salt and pepper
2-3 potatoes, depending on size, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
Blanch the nettles in boiling water then drain in a colander. Finely chop them and set them to one side.
Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes. Stop before they are fully cooked.
Fry the spices in oil, lower the heat then add the onion and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and then the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are soft throughout then add the chopped nettles. Cook the greens down with a little water if necessary, season and serve with rice or another curry.
Thanks to Alex Rushmer for these lovely recipes!