Stinging Nettles are a nutritious early season foraged food which can be found throughout the United States. Gloves and garden nippers and a little care make it possible to harvest them without getting stung. Drying or boiling the plant neutralizes the stingers, making them safe to handle and eat. You want to harvest them early, while they are still young and tender. In my area they start popping up when the snow is off the ground in March if we get some rain and a break in the freezing weather.
- Half a shopping bag of fresh stinging nettles
- 3 shallots
- 3 potatoes
- 1-3 stalks celery
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ½ lemon for juice
- 1 pat butter
- dollop of olive oil
Blanch the nettles by stirring in boiling water for 2 minutes then, using tongs, move nettles to bath of ice water. allow to cool before draining.
The hot water will have removed the sting and you can safely handle the nettles now.
Strip leaves and tips from thicker stems, discarding stems and any debris. Chop nettles coarsely.
peel and chop potatoes & celery, peel and chop shallots.
Add butter and oil to stock pot and heat. Stir in shallots & celery, cooking for 5 minutes or so, until shallots are translucent.
Add potatoes, chicken stock and thyme, simmer for 5-10 minutes
Add chopped nettles. The liquid should cover them – add water if necessary. Simmer 15 minutes, Potatoes and nettles should be tender.
Remove from heat. Use stick blender to purée soup.
Stir in the juice from ½ lemon.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish each serving with a splash of cream stirred in with a swirl.