Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sorrel Soup

Spring arrived in our CSA box last week in the form of sorrel, which is apparently the gastronomic equivalent of a robin. When you acquire sorrel, you are to make sorrel soup, just as when you see a robin, you are to shout "Hey! The first robin of spring!" Now usually, when I shout about the first robin of spring, my husband smugly informs me that he saw a robin yesterday, to which I smugly reply that I actually saw a robin two weeks ago, and so begins the first faux-argument of spring. In contrast, the sorrel soup produced murmurs of contentment on both sides, and no season-specific altercation. I'm not saying I don't like robins, but if I had to vote in a bird vs. plant run-off for most beloved springtime indicator, I think I would pick the leafy green one.

Regardless of your relative preference for sorrel versus robins, here is what you should do with the former, adapted from this recipe.

1 tbsp pasture butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 large-ish red spring onions, halves lengthwise and sliced (white/red part only; about 1 cup)
1-2 stalks green garlic, chopped (2-3 tbsp)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 large yellow potatoes, peeled, halved, and sliced
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 big handfuls spinach, briefly steamed or blanched, drained, and chopped
1 bunch sorrel, sliced
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Splash cream

Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the spring onion and saute until soft, then add the garlic and herbs and saute for a minute more.

Next, add the potatoes and stir to coat with the onion and garlic mixture. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour, until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, put the sorrel in a Cuisinart and blend until finely chopped.

When the potatoes are soft, remove the bay leaf and thyme stems. Stir in the spinach and then use a hand blender to puree the soup (or pour the soup into a regular blender to puree, which may be easier to do in small batches). Add salt and a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Just before serving, stir in the sorrel and a splash of cream (you want to do this moments before you bring the soup to the table, since sorrel turns grayish green as it cooks and after a few minutes your soup will lose some of its vivid green color. The spinach helps with this, and so does adding the sorrel raw right at the end, but it will still be prettier if you serve it sooner).

Ladle into bowls, and serve with some crusty multigrain brain and aged gouda.

Serves 3-4.


  1. I'm about to try this, but with a bit of a twist. Great tip about preserving the colour by adding the sorrel last thing. Have you ever tried blanching the sorrel than put into ice? I wonder if that would help with colour preservation.

    1. Ooh, I haven't tried that -- if you do and it works, please let me know! I do know that sorrel seems to change color very quickly once it starts to cook, so you would only want to blanch it for a couple seconds.