Nettle soup is probably what most people first think of when they consider cooking on the wild side, so I could hardly leave it out. The keys to an excellent nettle soup are potato - to give it body - and really good stock - to give it spirit. Without these the wild food cynic's worst suspicions of boiled weeds will be confirmed. Note that a carrier bag is the standard measure for nettles.
Prep 10mins Cook 20mins Servs 4
Wearing rubber gloves, sort through the nettles, discarding anything you don't like the look of and any thick stalks. Wash the nettles and drain in a colander.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook gently for 5-7 minutes until softened.
Add the stock, nettles, potato and carrot. Bring to a simmer and cook gently until the potato is soft, about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Using an electric hand-held stick blender, purée the soup and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into warmed bowls and float a teaspoonful of creme fraiche on top. As this melts, swirl in a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil and Tabasco.
Half a carrier bagful of stinging nettle tops, or fresh-looking larger leaves
1 large onion (or a dozen crow garlic bulbs if you want to be truly wild), peeled and finely chopped
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock, or even light fish stock
1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp crème fraîche
A few drops of extra-virgin olive oil
A few drops of Tabasco
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