I’ve got four very vigorous sorrel plants in the garden. (I wanted to put a picture up, but at the moment I can’t find my battery charger.)They were green and beautiful all winter, and are now growing like weeds. Sorrel, for those of you unfamiliar, has a lemony flavor that ranges from mild in tender, young leaves to fairly pronounced in larger leaves. The young leaves are great for salads, sandwiches, and appetizers (a chiffonade of young leaves on a toasted baguette, topped with goat cheese and mango or ham and melon is fantastic), while the older leaves are great in soups and casseroles.
The key to using older leaves is to pair them correctly. I find that sorrel works very well when paired with either sweet foods like asparagus or red pepper, or creamy foods like cheese, cream, or almond or coconut milk.
Sorrel Soup Base
2-3 tsp. olive or coconut oil
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2-3 bulbs garlic, crushed and chopped
2-3 c. sorrel, washed and roughly chopped
4 cups stock*
1/2-1 cup cream, thick almond milk, or coconut milk
-salt and pepper
Directions: In stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cover to sweat (do not burn or crisp). Stir frequently. When onion is translucent, add sorrel and stock, reducing heat to simmer. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes, until sorrel is tender. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Remove from heat, puree with stick blender if desired, and stir in cream. Serve.
*You can use any kind of stock you want, depending on what you’ll be doing with the soup. If you use vegetable stock, make sure it isn’t at all bitter, or the soup will be unpleasant.
For me, this is a base recipe, and while it’s yummy on it’s own, usually it’s just the beginning of something much more interesting!
Sorrel Chicken Soup
-Base recipe ingredients
2 carrots, diced
-1 large boiling potato, diced
-Use chicken stock
-2 c. cooked chicken, shredded or chunked
-Spices, as desired: Italian parsley, rosemary, salt, pepper, tarragon
Directions: Sweat onions and garlic, as per base directions. Add carrots and potatoes and cook until they begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Add chicken (you can use raw chicken and add it after the carrots and potatoes, as well), sorrel, and stock. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Puree if desired. Stir in cream and serve.
Tom Kah Gai (Thai Chili Coconut Soup)
-Base ingredients. minus cream
-1 tsp. palm sugar or sucanat (more to taste)
-1 can coconut milk
-Red peppers, seeded and chopped. (your favorite kind, number to suit spice preference)
-Chicken stock is preferable, but vegetable is fine
-Coriander, 1 tsp or 2 fresh roots, peeled
-1.5 inches galanga or ginger root, peeled
-1 tsp to 1 tbs. chili garlic paste
-1 lb. raw chicken, chunked -or- 1 lb. extra firm tofu, pressed and chunked
-zest of two limes, or 4 keffir lime leaves if available
-1 lb. mixed mushrooms, chopped roughly
-About 2 tsp. fish sauce (to taste, you may need more or less. Start small and add)
-Cilantro or basil leaves
Directions: Sweat onions and garlic, and sweat. Add all broth ingredients and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Strain chunks out of broth, squeezing strained chunks gently to yield all juices, and return broth to heat. You can either mince the strained chunks and returned to soup, or throw away (I don’t put the red pepper back in, but do put the other stuff back–it’s not as pretty as without, but it’s really yummy). Add the additions, return to simmer, and allow to cook until chicken is done. If using tofu, allow to cook for about 15 minutes. Taste, and add more sugar, fish sauce, or chili garlic paste to taste. Garnish and serve.
I also use the base to do Greek Lemon Chicken Rice Soup, Mexican Tortilla Soup, and Spring Vegetable Noodles soup, among others. I’d love to read what others do with their sorrel!