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Nettle Soup

(recipe, Deborah Madison)


  1. 6 to 8 oz. nettle leaves (a plastic vegetable bag, filled)
  2. 1 cup sliced fresh onions, green garlic, plus greens, or scallions
  3. 1 small potato, thinly sliced
  4. 6 cups chard leaves, thinly sliced
  5. Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  6. 6 cups chicken stock, water, or vegetable stock
  7. ½ cup cream, hopefully organic cream from a dairy near you


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.