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Pacific Northwest | April 3, 2005Pacific Northwest MagazineApril 3, 2005seattletimes.com home Home delivery

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TASTE
  Recipe:Nettle Soup
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PREVIOUS ISSUES OF PACIFIC NW


WRITTEN BY GREG ATKINSON

NETTLE SOUP
Makes 6 servings

Before they're cooked, nettles are possessed of an irritating chemical that lies in tiny needles that comprise the fuzz on the underside of the leaves. Once cooked, the fragile chemicals that cause the sting are rendered harmless. But when gathering nettles, be sure to wear sturdy gloves. Nettle soup is often thickened with potatoes, but I find that mild-tasting rice affords a smoother texture and interferes less with the delicate flavor of the nettles.

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
½ cup uncooked rice
4 quarts stinging nettle tips, loosely packed
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  1. If the nettles have any foreign material in them or if they were picked on a dusty day, you may need to wash them. Wearing rubber gloves, plunge them into a sink full of water, then lift them out of the water, leaving any debris behind.
  2. In a soup kettle over medium-high heat, melt the butter in the olive oil. Stir in the onion and sauté until the onions are soft and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until the grains are translucent, about one minute.
  3. Pile in the nettles, the garlic and the broth and bring the soup to a full, rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is very tender, about 20 minutes. Transfer the soup in small batches to a blender and purée until smooth. Add the salt and pepper and serve hot.


 
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