Creamy Stinging Nettles Soup Recipe
The only word that used to come to mind when I heard “Stinging Nettles” was “ouch!” That all changed when a young Scandinavian work colleague challenged me to give them a try in a soup. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
Stinging nettles are a wild herbal plant. In the spring of the year – especially here in western Europe, you can find them most anywhere. They grow in gardens, back yards and forest, but most of time, you’ll most likely find them along a roadside, near weeds and dandelions. I won’t even pretend that I deliberately left the comforts of home in search of these little buggers. In fact, that very same colleague, kindly collected them for me and had them delivered to my home.
Here’s the thing: they are called “stinging” for a reason. When you touch the leaves with your bare hands, it leaves a burning sensation. If you’re like me, allergic to almost everything outdoors, it’s a recipe for disaster. So, if you are going to try them, do wear protective rubber gloves. The stinging subsides once you place the leaves in the freezer or boil them. I did both. That’s why we’re only having them in late summer.
Nettles also have some medicinal benefit. They are rich in magnesium, and vitamins A and B. Some studies suggest that they are a natural anti-inflammatory and are a natural pain reliever for those suffering from arthritis. Caution: do not eat them if you are on medications; always check with your doctor first and never eat them raw.
Finally, I must admit I was a little hesitant about how they would taste. Cooking them in a hot chicken broth, the nettles take on a consistency like most greens (collards, mustard, kale, spinach), except the mixture smells a lot like green tea. Adding lemon juice and salt to the broth cuts any hint of bitterness and cream the soup with plain yogurt instead of creme crème fraîche .
Now, for the verdict: once you take the broth mixture and cream it into a soup with potatoes, it’s actually quite delicious. You know you’ve got a winner win the teen girl is on board as well. Check out our version below. If you have a recipe of your own, we’d love to hear about it. Enjoy!
- 2 bunches of frozen stinging nettles (thawed and washed in salted water)**
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 leek
- 1 shallot (raw), chopped
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 5 medium mushrooms, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon spicy paprika
- 5 cup(s) chicken stock with 1 chicken bouillon cube (vegetable stock)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup, 2 % milk (soy, almond, rice or skim as alternatives work fine)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon, plain yogurt
- 1/8 cup, squeezed lemon
- 1 sprig of parsley
** Handling Nettles
- When searching for nettles in the wild, please wear protective rubber gloves. You’ll need to wear them while handling the nettles — all the way until you place them in boiling broth.
- If you don’t want to eat them in the spring while plentiful, you can freeze them.
- Be sure to thaw the nettles before cooking and while wearing gloves, wash them in warm, salted water.
- Never eat them raw!
- Prep 10min
- Meal Time Breakfast
- Serves 4
- Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and bay leaves to the stock. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Chop and lightly sauteed potatoes, celery, leeks, garlic, carrots, mushrooms and shallots in oil.
- Add vegetable mixture to the boiling chicken stock and continue cooking on low heat for 1 hour.
- Add the thawed and washed stinging nettles.
- Near the end of cook time (ten minutes), remove the bay leaves.
- Remove the cooked chicken from bones and return to pot.
- Remove the soup mixture from heat and cool for roughly 5 minutes before transferring to a blender.
- Add milk, butter, and yogurt to the mixture in the blender. Blend to desired consistency.
- Re-add the soup to the kettle and add a splash of lemon juice.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Finish off with the final sprig of parsley and serve in a bowl.