Posts Tagged ‘refreshing soup’

I picked up some beautiful sorrel at the farmers market this past week, mainly because it was such a glorious bright green, pointy-leafed and spiky.  I thought it would make a great centerpiece for the dining room table – a trick I use to brighten the meal and still be able to eat the décor at a later date.  I had remembrances of a wonderful vichyssoise-like sorrel soup in France but, since most of the recent sorrel soups I have been served have been stringy and not very appetizing I didn’t think that I would use it.  (I’m not even much of a fan of the commercially-bottled shav {also called shav borscht}, a traditional Jewish soup made from sorrel and often served at Passover.  It is rarely made at home since it is available from many supermarkets).  However economy told me that I shouldn’t waste it, so after the sorrel had debuted as a centerpiece, I decided to try my hand at turning it into a chilled summer soup.

If you don’t know sorrel, it has a piquant lemony flavor and a striking green color.  It is actually a herb and a member of the buckwheat family and is traditionally used for soup throughout Eastern Europe.  It is usually only available in the spring at farmers markets.  Rarely have I seen it in the supermarket and even specialty produce shops seem to ignore it.  It’s stringiness can be off-putting, but when it is cooked, puréed, and strained you have a wonderfully-inviting, cream-like, tart, refreshing soup that can be served hot or cold – the latter being my preference.  And here’s the recipe to try should you find yourself with a bunch or two of fresh, lively sorrel leaves.

            3 tablespoons unsalted butter

            1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

2 shallots, peeled and chopped

            1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped

            1 pound fresh sorrel, well-washed and chopped

            3 large fresh mint leaves plus about 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves for garnish

            1 large cooked, peeled russet potato, diced

            5 cups chicken stock

            Salt and pepper to taste

            1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

            ½ teaspoon green Tabasco sauce

Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  When hot, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for 3 or so minutes or until softened.  Add the sorrel and mint leaves and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the sorrel changes to a dark green color.  Add the potato and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Working in batches, pour the hot soup into a blender and, holding down the lid with a kitchen towel, process to a smooth purée.

When all of the soup has been puréed, pour it through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container to eliminate any stringy bits.  This is pretty important ‘cause I find that the consistency can be a bit slimy if this step is eliminated

If serving hot, return the strained purée to a clean saucepan and place over low heat.  Stir in the cream and Tabasco sauce.  Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, just until hot.  Remove from the heat and serve.

If serving cold, do not return the purée to the saucepan.  Pour into a container with a lid, stir in the cream and Tabasco, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour to chill.

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