Stinging Nettles are delicious, and extremely good for you. Not only are they high in antioxidants, but are the plant highest in protein. It’s no wonder that Stinging Nettles developed the weapons that are their namesake. When you gather nettles, be sure you’re doing it in an area low in pollution and somewhere that isn’t sprayed. You don’t want to eat those chemicals.
Though Stinging nettles can be replaced in most any recipe that calls for cooked spinach, nettle soup is an easy way to get acquainted with their flavor. The nettle soup recipe below is simple, quick, and easy. The hard part is in gathering. Use caution, and gloves!
1 lb nettle tips (or about a 3/4 loosely packed paper grocery bag)
2 C milk (or soy milk, rice milk, or vegetable stock)
1/4 C rice
1 large Walla Walla sweet onion
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or olive oil / canola oil)
3 Tbsp bacon grease (I save mine when I make bacon and store it in the fridge till I need it), or two strips cooked, crumbled bacon plus grease.
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 pinch ascorbic acid (or 1/2 tsp lemon juice or lime juice)
4 C vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
- Handle uncooked nettles with gloves and caution. They’re not called stinging nettles without good reason.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, and throw in the nettles. Blanche for one minute, then drain. Rinse. You should be able to touch them without getting nettle stings now.
- Roughly chop onion. Add it with the grapeseed oil to the pot and caramelize. Add rice.
- Chop nettles and add to pot.
- Add spices (pepper, salt, nutmeg, ascorbic acid/lemon juice), bacon, 4C stock, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
- Cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.
- Puree soup.
- Add remaining 2C liquid (milk, cream, or stock), and bring up to temperature.
- Serve, garnished with a swirl of cream, a dollop of sour cream, or sprig of parsley.