A quick browse, combined with not having potatoes in the house, made me settle for this one, which turned out pretty well, after some adjustments of my own.
Thus armed with a very thick plastic bag and my thick leather gloves (very good for brambles!), I wandered through the farthest and shadiest corners of the garden and took off all the nettle tips and a few of the smaller leaves. Volume-wise, I'd say I had about 3 litres of the stuff, per weight, I barely reached 200 g. But there was no injury involved anywhere.
4 tbsp pearl barley
200 g nettles - tips and tender top leaves only
1 medium onion
30 g butter
1 handful of wild garlic
1 tbsp chopped parsley
25 g chives
600 ml chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
Labneh or strained Greek yoghurt
- Measure up the pearl barley in a small saucepan, add plenty of water and set to cook as per instructions on the packet.
- Wash the nettles thoroughly, then steam for about 10 minutes until they have wilted, but still remain dark green.
- Peel and dice the onion coarsely, then melt the butter in a frying pan, let it start going golden, then add the onion.
- Stir the onion to get it coated with the butter, then turn down the heat and let fry gently until it goes translucent. Stir occasionally.
- Transfer the nettles into a deep casserole, add the garlic, parsley and chives. Pour over the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes.
- Remove the casserole from the heat and carefully blend the nettle soup until smooth. Season to taste.
- When the pearl barley is ready, drain it well, then stir into the smooth soup along with the fried onions.
- Serve with a topping of your choice, like Swedish meatballs and labneh or strained Greek yogurt.
This turned out quite nice, even if it was a quite un-appetising dark green. I did make one mistake in adding a whole litre of stock, rather than 600 ml and this made the soup too thin for my liking. It combined very nicely with Swedish meatballs and a couple of spoons of the labneh I made the other day. I think more wild garlic would be good too.