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(recipe, Deborah Madison)
- 6 to 8 oz. nettle leaves (a plastic vegetable bag, filled)
- 1 cup sliced fresh onions, green garlic, plus greens, or scallions
- 1 small potato, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chard leaves, thinly sliced
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock, water, or vegetable stock
- ½ cup cream, hopefully organic cream from a dairy near you
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Using tongs or wearing gloves to handle them, plunge the nettles into a bowl of cold water and swish them back and forth, then drop them into the boiling water for two minutes. Drain and coarsely chop. Discard any large stems.
- Melt the butter in a wide soup pot and add the onion and potato. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chard, 1½ teaspoons salt, and the stock or water. Bring to a boil, add the nettles, and simmer until the potato is completely soft, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Puree the soup until smooth, then return it to the stove. (If the nettles were stemmy, pass the soup through a food mill.) Add the cream and taste for salt. Season well with pepper and serve plain or with whole-wheat croutons browned in butter.