One of the first things I did when I started my garden here in California was plant sorrel in my backyard. It is my kind of veggie: Tart, tender, drought-resistant, indestructible. Ignore it and sorrel thrives. Stomp on it and it comes back stronger. And it’s green almost all year long. I also separate them every year and divide the plants.
Sorrel soup is a classic. Sorrel is a tonic. It is very high in Vitamin C and reasonably high in iron. It’s tang — I call it “lemonade in a leaf” — comes from oxalic acid, the same thing that make its cousin rhubarb taste the way it does.
Sorrel is exceptional paired with seafood or chicken, whenever I have some trout or salmon or pheasant around.
Sorrel Soup, French Style
You will need a fair bit of sorrel to make this recipe, as it cooks down into a puree alarmingly fast. You can buy sorrel at some fancy supermarkets, a lot of farmer’s markets in the spring — or you can garden your own or forage for it. If you can’t find it, substitute watercress and use sour cream instead of regular cream.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, leeks, ramps or other wild onion
- 4-6 cups (packed) of chopped sorrel
- 2 cups of chard
- 1 quart chicken bone broth
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup cream
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the green onions or ramps and turn the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook gently for 10 minutes.
- Add sorrel & chard
- Turn the heat up, add the sorrel leaves and a healthy pinch of salt and stir well. When the sorrel is mostly wilted, turn the heat back to medium-low, cover and cook 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add chicken broth.
- Blend soup in blender & return to pot
- To finish the soup, whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Temper the mixture by ladling a little soup into it with one hand, while you whisk the egg-cream mix with the other. Repeat this three times. (You are doing this to prevent the eggs from scrambling) Now start whisking the soup. Pour the hot egg-cream-soup mixture into the pot with the soup, whisking all the way. Add the final tablespoon of butter. Let this cook — below a simmer — for 5 minutes. Do not let it boil or the soup will break. Serve at once. Top with sour cream ( optional)