Nettles are so jam-packed with vitamins and minerals that they are classified as a superfood. This nutritious soup is as tasty as it is simple, and at its best when made with fresh young nettle tips in April and May. You can make it any time of year if you can find nettles, but never gather nettles after they have flowered.
- About 80g (roughly 2 pints*) of fresh young nettle tips
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 850ml vegetable stock
- 140ml single cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Homemade croutons, to serve, or try our recipe for nettle crisps
- Wearing gloves, carefully pick over the nettles and remove and discard all but the most tender stems. Wash the nettles in plenty of cold water and leave them to drain in a colander.
- Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium pan and add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook gently until the onion is oftened, adding the sliced garlic in the last couple of minutes of cooking.
- Add the potato and stir well to combine with the onions. Allow to cook gently for a couple of minutes, then add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about ten minutes, until the potatoes are tender to the point of a knife.
- Add the nettles, pushing them down to submerge them in the stock and cook at a steady simmer for five minutes. Blitz the soup using a stick blender, or transfer to a blender goblet and liquidise in batches and return to the pan.
- Bring the soup back up to simmering point, then take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream. Taste for seasoning and ladle into bowls. Serve topped with homemade croutons or nettle crisps.
*We use empty, washed yogurt pots as a handy collection container when picking nettles. The large ones (450ml, roughly a pint in old measures) can help gauge how much to pick: two large yogurt pots, filled but not packed down tight, is about right for this recipe.
Recipe by Wild Food UK; development and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK