Friday, 31 May 2013

WW Sorrel and Lentil Soup

I have had many fun experiments with cooking since our visit to the Coburg Farmers Market last weekend.  One unusual purchase was a bunch of sorrel.  Its name seemed vaguely familiar and it looked so green and healthy.  Little did I know that once you cook it, the leaves turn the colour of a swamp monster.  I soon learned more about it as I search the web for ideas.

I avoided all the sorrel soup recipes with eggs - and there were plenty.  I wanted to taste the stuff but I wasn't sure I could quite come at a salad now the weather had cooled.  Though I was tempted to try it in a warm vegetable and lentil salad.  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's sorrel and lentil soup seemed just the thing for late autumn.

After all I had plenty of vegetables in the house.  It seems that our vegetable crisper is constantly overflowing lately, no matter how much I cook.  And I have been rather partial to lentils in soup lately.  I used white carrots to keep the colours white and slimy green.

Sorrel has large beautiful green leaves.  Like the Scottish Highlands which have never fallen prey to hoards of tourists due to midges, I guess that sorrel has never become one of the popular leafy greens because its lush green turns murky when heated. Or maybe it is the oxalic acid in the sorrel that is harmless in small quantities but can be fatal if eaten too much.  Or is it just that it grows like a weed in some gardens - my mother's for instance.  (Of course, if I had known my mum had sorrel in her garden I wouldn't be buying it at a market!)

The oxalic acid is what gives the sorrel its sharp sour taste.  When I was young we loved to chew on the stalks of sour grass.  The stalks of the sorrel reminded me of sitting in a corner of the backyard among the long grass, choosing a fat stalk to chew on.  In fact, Sylvia enjoyed chewing on the sorrel stalks.

While Sylvia chewed on sorrel stalks, E and I enjoyed the soup.  It was hearty and healthy.  Great with scones.  I quite enjoyed the flashes of sour flavour from the sorrel leaves.  And now that I know my mum has sorrel in her garden, you might find me experimenting further.

I am sending this soup to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Ideas for using sorrel:

Lentil and Sorrel Soup
Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
serves 4

25g butter (or oil)
1 leek, sliced
3 celery sticks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
3 small potatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
225g red lentils
1 litre water
1 tsp stock powder
1 tsp salt
225g sorrel, thinly sliced
pepper to serve

Melt oil in a stockpot over medium heat and cook leek, celery, carrots, parsnip, potatoes and garlic til softened. I think it took me about 10 to 15 minutes but I chopped and added to the pot as I went (in the order that the ingredients are listed).  Add lentils, water, stock powder and salt.  Simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes until the potato is soft and the lentils cooked.  (I did about 15 minutes but could have had a bit longer). Stir in the sorrel for a minute or two until wilted (unfortunately it will lose its lovely colour.) Serve warm with lots of black pepper.

On the Stereo:
Farwell Sorrow: Alasdair Roberts

14 comments:

  1. Oh interesting; I've wanted to try sorrel (and samphire) for quite some time now! Soup is always good good good.

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I've never come across samphire but would love to - and this is the first time I have seen sorrel - but after my mum had said it was in her garden I wished I had tried the warrigul greens

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  2. I don't think I have ever seen sorrel - it is one of those things you read about but never see. Your soup sounds interesting.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - I think I bought it because the name seemed quite poetic but maybe that is the result of never seeing it anywhere previously

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  3. I've never had sorrel but think I have read about it having a lemony taste? I wonder if it's the same sort of sharp taste as rhubarb - that has lots of oxalic acid too.

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    1. Thanks Caroline - I was surprised at just how sour the sorrel was - probably comparable to rhubarb (which I prefer not to eat raw so I didn't even consider the sorrel salad with raw rhubarb chunks - sounded too sour for me)

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  4. Looks lovely! I'm very fond of sorrel.

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  5. I've never seen sorrel in the markets before but I have seen plenty of nice looking recipes that use it so I've always been interested in trying it. The soup sounds like a great way to enjoy it.

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    1. Thanks Mel - I actually thought I had seen sorrel on your blog and then found it was borrage that you had in your garden (but maybe I had got confused with my mum's garden)

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  6. Ooooohhh sorrel! :D I haven't eaten that in ages! It only comes from the meadow here, I've never found it at a store or market.

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    1. Thanks Kath - love the idea of meadows full of sorrel - I don't think I have seen it in a market or store before

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  7. I've never tried sorrel, nor have I even really known what it is, but this soup does sound like a great place to put it. At this time of year, I suppose that applies to most vegetables though :-) I'll look forward to seeing what you get up to with future bunches if you do play around further!

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    1. Thanks Kari - I don't think sorrel is a must-try but it is a nice alternative green to try - and totally agree about soups - actually I think soups are great any time of year

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