By: Beth Jones
This Green Borscht is a Russian-style nettle and sorrel soup. Nettles are best used in the spring and early summer, before their stingers mature and become painful to the touch. Still, it is best to use gloves when cleaning them. Soaking them in hot water also will tone down the effects of the stingers. Nettles are a great source of vitamins A, C, K, and B, iron and calcium. During World War II, nettles were a regular part of the daily ration for many Soviet soldiers – they often had nettle soup for both breakfast and dinner. Serves 4-6.
- 1 large bunch of nettles, roughly 3 cups
- 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 2 carrots, small dice
- 1 medium yellow or red beet, greens & stem reserved and root medium dice
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 small salad turnips, greens & stem reserved and root medium dice
- 1-2 cups mushrooms, quartered
- 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 Tablespoon minced green garlic
- 4 medium potatoes, small dice
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 3 ramps or scallions, finely chopped
- ½ cup sorrel leaves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled and diced
- 2 Tablespoons dill, chopped
- Sour cream (optional garnish)
Using gloves, thoroughly wash the nettles and remove any tough stems. Soak in a bowl of hot water for 1 minute, drain and roughly chop.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the diced onion, carrots and beet and saute for 2 minutes. Add the wine and saute 1 minute.
Add the turnips, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked, but not mushy.
Just before serving add the nettles, beet & turnip greens, ramps and sorrel. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with the egg, sour cream and dill.