In England, fresh stinging nettles can be found everywhere. I let a few grow contentedly in a corner of the garden and use them for soup in the Spring and as fertiliser for the tomatoes when they are past their best. Pick only the top 4-6 leaves of each plant for a delightful earthy soup.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
12 ounces potatoes
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
6 ounces nettles
2 pints vegetable stock
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
Cook the onion in the oil until golden then add the finely chopped potato and stir frequently for about five minutes.
Add the nettles and a good splash of stock and let them sweat with the other ingredients for another 5 minutes.
Add the stock and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the nutmeg just before the end. Liquidise and add the lemon, salt and pepper. Season with soya sauce and extra nutmeg and lemon if desired. Do not overseason, otherwise you will overpower the simple earthiness of this soup.
Nettles are an excellent tonic for the Blood, with a strengthening action on the Liver, Lung and Kidney. Nettles nourish the Liver Yin as well as helping resolve Phlegm in the Lung. The potato acts as a neutral, Qi-strengthening base for the nettle’s action. The main action of this soup is to nourish Blood, support the Kidney and strengthen the Liver Yin.