As the sorrel patch in my garden produces its second or third growth I am reminded of the first time I made sorrel soup with Adrienne. We cut mountains of sorrel in the morning and sat together at the kitchen table stripping out the thick vein in the center of the larger leaves. Then we peeled the potatoes that, along with onions and some chicken broth, formed the base for the soup. When the potatoes were cooked through we added the sorrel. We had enough soup for an army But it was a lovely Indian Summer day, too warm for soup, so into her freezer and mine went the whole lot! Later in the year when winter had finally set in and I had the most dreadful cold, I rediscovered Adrienne’s sorrel soup buried in the back of my freezer. I won’t say it cured me but the lemony brightness of the sorrel lifted my spirits.
Sorrel is full of vitamin C and is incredibly easy to grow if you have a space in your garden. It can often be found in specialty and farmer’s markets. Sorrel soup has its origins in eastern European cuisine and is commonly referred to as Green Borscht. Served with a poached egg on top it makes a lovely luncheon dish. Puree the soup and add a bit of cream and you have a lovely sauce for chicken or fish. It can be served cold, but I always save it for dark winter nights when I need to be reminded that the warmth of the sun will one day return.
We always use commercially available chicken broth or stock made from cooked chicken (brown stock) for this recipe. The lemony flavor of the sorrel will get lost in the robust taste of chicken stock made with uncooked bones (white stock). I have learned that you can freeze sorrel once it is cut into strips and then add it directly to the soup without thawing. I do this with the last growth in the autumn so that I have some to use as a garnish when I serve the soup in the winter. If you thaw the sorrel it will turn to mush.
Versatile soup/sauce with a lovely lemony brightness. Serve with yoghurt/creme fraiche or a poached egg.
- Olive oil
- 3-4 medium yellow onions, sliced about 1/8” thick
- 5-6 medium red skinned or waxy potatoes, peeled and sliced about ¼” thick
- 3 large bunches of sorrel, remove the center vein and cut into a rough chiffonade (strips)
- 32 oz. chicken broth
- Juice of 1 lemon – do not discard rind
- Creme fraiche or yogurt - optional
- Freshly ground pepper
- Step 1 Sauté the onions in a few tablespoons of olive oil until softened. Add salt and pepper about halfway through cooking. Set aside.
- Step 2 Meanwhile place the chicken broth and potatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are tender – about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes but don’t discard the liquid.
- Step 3 Place the potatoes, onions and ½ cup reserved potato cooking liquid in a food processor. Process briefly just until the mixture is blended – if you over-process it the starch in the potatoes will turn into a glue like mess. Return to the pot with all the reserved cooking liquid. Check seasoning it will probably need lots of salt and pepper.
- Step 4 Bring the soup to a simmer and add about ¾ of the sorrel, stirring constantly. Simmer for 10 minutes or until the sorrel ‘dissolves’ a bit into the soup. Add the lemon juice and half the lemon rind. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste. If you want more lemon add the other half rind and continue cooking for another 10 minutes. Remove the rind and, if desired, puree the soup before serving.
- Step 5 You can freeze the soup at this point. When you thaw it taste again to correct the seasoning as it will probably need a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper.
- Step 6 To serve: Place a spoonful of crème fraiche or yogurt in each bowl, ladle the soup on top and garnish with the remaining sorrel. Serve with a chunk of warm bread and unsalted butter.