Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sorrel: Rumex acetosa
I rarely see common garden sorrel being grown in vegetable or herb gardens and I guess it does have an unusual taste. The basis for the Eastern European sorrel soup, sorrel is a pretty, little green plant with sour, lemony leaves. The young leaves can be used (sparingly, to taste) in spring salads and gives them a nice bite. Sorrel is easy to grow, having few pests. It likes a sunny spot in the garden and will grow in a clump that should be divided every 3 to 5 years. Leaves are harvested young and very definitely before the plant is in flower, after which the leaf turns bitter. Several cuttings can be made before the plant sends up its flower spike. I have only purchased sorrel plants, and have not started it from seed.
The main use for sorrel in my kitchen is sorrel soup, which is a lovely green, sour, lemony dish. To make it:
I large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T unsalted butter
4-5 medium potatoes, peeled and diced.
5 cups tightly packed sorrel leaves, or half and half sorrel and spinach (and you can use lesser amount of leaves)
1 t. grated nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 snipped chives, if desired, for garnish
In a 4 qt. saucepan, melt butter and saute onion and garlic until lightly colored (about 15 minutes). Add potatoes, sorrel, nutmeg, salt, pepper and stock to the sauce pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 50 minutes. Allow to cool enough until it can be pureed. Puree in a food processor or blender. Reheat. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of chives. Can be frozen. Makes about 10 cups.
Happy eating! And Happy gardening!