Wild Edibles: Stinging Nettle Soup
A traditional soup of stinging nettle and aromatics. You can even omit the pancetta and still have a wonderful, hearty soup.
- About 8 cups of stinging nettle, leaves and stems separated into two piles
- 1 litre of stock (I recommend chicken, but vegetable or beef works too)
- 2 large potatoes (yellow or Yukon gold), diced
- 3 shallots, diced, or 1 onion
- 1 cup diced pancetta (or 4 strips bacon)
- 4 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons of either Olive oil/lard/ghee
- Red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Separate your stinging nettle into stems and leaves.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot or French oven on medium heat, slowly render your pancetta, allowing most of the fat to melt.
- Add your cooking fat of choice (olive oil/lard/ghee) and the shallots.
- Once the shallots turn translucent, add the diced potatoes and a pinch of salt, cook until starting to crisp. Do not let the shallots burn.
- Add the fresh garlic and allow it to become fragrant, about 60 seconds.
- Add the roasted garlic, chopped walnuts, red pepper flakes (to taste), and chopped stinging nettle stems. Continue to cook, stirring, for another minute or two.
- Add your stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a quiet simmer anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes until the potatoes and nettle stems are completely soft.
- Add your stinging nettle leaves, cook for 2-3 minutes until wilted, and then remove from heat.
- With an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. I prefer it more rustic with the stinging nettle leaves still being obvious in the finished product.
- Adjust for salt to taste and add freshly cracked pepper.
To serve: add a drizzle of (optional) walnut oil and more fresh pepper.