One of the plants shooting out of the ground right now, is the stinging or common nettle. And that's good news, because this plant can be used to make a tasty soup. Here's the recipe of how we make nettle soup (enough for four persons).
To start with, you need two litres of freshly picked nettles. Take young shoots, the tops of older shoots or just the leaves of full grown plants. To measure two litres, you can use a two-litre freezer bag.
These kind of tops will do fine. Clean the nettles, take away root parts and thick stems. Then wash the nettles thoroughly.
Bring half a litre of lightly salted water to the boil, then add the nettles. Let them simmer for five minutes.
Poor of the water but don't throw it away. Chop up the nettles.
Melt two tablespoons of margarine in the pan. Sift three tablespoons of wheat flour into the melted margarine and stir thoroughly. Add the nettle-water, two bouillon cubes and half a litre of cold water. Bring the broth to the boil again. Then add the chopped nettles and let everything simmer for five more minutes.
Stir a decilitre of cream through the soup. You can top the soup with a slice of hard-boiled egg, chopped chives and/or a little bit of fried bacon. In this example, we only used some chopped chives.
Stinging nettles are called 'stinging' nettles for a reason: they can sting. So be careful while picking and handling them. It takes a full ten minutes ten minutes of simmering, before the substances that cause the burning pain and blisters completely loose their effect. Do not make the mistake, like Nicôle did, when she made nettle soup for the first time, to taste the soup before it is completely finished cooking.
Nettles are at their best in spring. Later on, the stems become tough and the leaves brittle, so now is the time. Enjoy your meal!