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, peeled medium dice
- 3 small salad turnips, peeled, small dice
- 1-2 cups mushrooms, quartered
- ¼ cup white wine
- 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 Tablespoon minced green garlic
- 4 medium potatoes, small dice
- 3 ramps, or scallions, finely chopped
- Greens and stems from the beets, washed and chopped
- ½ cup sorrel leaves, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons dill, chopped
- 2 eggs, hard-boiled, and diced
- Sour cream, optional garnish
Using gloves, thoroughly wash the nettles, and remove any hard 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 onion, carrots, and beets and saute for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook 1 minute. Add the 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 greens, ramps and sorrel. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with the egg, sour cream and dill on the side for garnish.