Chilled Sorrel Soup
French (or garden) sorrel is a super hardy perennial potherb with a bright pleasant tartness. It grows in my unheated hoop house even in the harshest winters providing refreshingly tart leaves for our winter salads. It is one of the first vegetables I harvest outside: it sends bright green leaves up in mid to late March, dislikes summer heat (unless provided with shade), and comes back in the cooler fall. I have written about how to grow sorrel here.
Sorrel’s acidity livens up green salads,omelets, and potato salads. When the clumps really fatten in March or April with lots of big leaves (and really as long as the leaves are healthy often through June), I make this creamy leek and potato soup. Sorrel is added at the last minute (use as much as you like) to produce a soup the color of a Granny Smith apple. Reheated or cooked, it will turn a darker green similar to a spinach soup—still good, but not as surprising to the eye.
Chilled Sorrel Soup
SERVES 4 TO 6 AS A LIGHT MAIN DISH
- 1 pound leeks, roots and very dark green parts trimmed
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 pound potatoes, scrubbed clean of dirt and trimmed (peeling optional)
- 1 ½ to 2 quarts good-quality chicken broth
- 2 to 4 cups shredded green sorrel (hard center stem removed, if any)
- Salt, pepper to taste
- baby herbs and edible flowers for garnishes (such as chives, violas, cilantro, kale, primroses, redbuds, bachelor’s button, borage…)
Slice and wash the leeks well by swashing them around in a bowl of water. Lift them out of the water (so any grits remain in the water) and drain.
Heat a Dutch oven on medium heat, add the butter, add the leeks, lower the heat, and cook them slowly, stirring occasionally to make t hem “sweat.” They should not color at all, just become limp. If they start to color, lower the heat more, stir and add a little butter or water. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice potatoes. Then add them to the softened leeks. Add one quart broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, and lower the heat. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Purée the soup using an immersion blender, or transfer soup to a blender in small batches to avoid hot overspills, and process until smooth. Use additional broth as necessary to purée and thin to your desired consistency. Chill.
Pour soup back in blender. Add the shredded sorrel, a cup at a time, and puree until smooth. Taste until you have reached a pleasantly tart taste and a nice bright green color. (I like a ratio of 1 cup of packed shredded sorrel to 2 cups of soup).
Salt & peppers to taste. Pour into bowls and garnish withe the herbs and flowers.