Archive for August 31st, 2008

Stinging nettle soup

My late grand mother told me ~15 years ago that during the World War II she had to eat quite some “stinging nettle soup” (σούπα τσουκνίδας) to survive. Since then I’ve been meaning to learn how to cook this food, but it wasn’t up until 10 days ago when I asked a great aunt of mine (now in her mid-70s), that I learned how to cook it. Since then, I also learned that Scandinavians, Turks, Romanians, some villages in France, and native American Indians also eat nettles. I haven’t tried the recipe as it’s not the right season to harvest them, but I am transferring the recipe as told by my aunt.

So, first, you need to wait for the time that nettles grow, around February-March. You have to use some thick gloves in order to not get irritated by the nettle stinging. Harvest the nettles while young, before they have bloomed. Wash well.

On a big pan put lots of water, bring it to boil, and cook the nettles until tender. Drain the water away, and bring the nettles into a blender to make them a puree (traditionally, Greeks would use a wooden tool to “beat” the nettles until they become somewhat mashed instead of puree). Add some water on a pan, bring to a boil, and add the nettle puree.

While stirring, add some salt, tender onion greens (chopped), one garlic clove crushed, olive oil, a bit of lemon juice, and just enough of white flour to get the soup thickened. Eat warm.

As a variation, for these modern days we live in, I guess you can also use some vegetable stock instead of salt, to give it a more distinct flavor.