Nettle, Pea and Mint Soup! Early April is when stingers are perfect for making into the most wonderfully tasty and nutritious soup. Newcomers to this soup are always a little dubious but believe me it really is delicious. First, you need to get out into the glorious spring sunshine with your marigolds on and forage for your nettles! You need to pick just the new leaf bud and first couple of leaves from the top of the nettle – these are the sweet, new young shoots; if you pick any lower they start to get bitter. You need about a third of a carrier bagful. When you get home tip them into your washing-up bowl and give them a good rinse under cold water to get rid of any little bugs, discarding any stalky bits or the odd bit of grass that inevitably seems to end up in mine.
To make your soup you will need:
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Handful of rice
2 pints of veg or chicken stock
Mugful of frozen peas
Several sprigs of finely chopped mint
Salt and pepper
Melt the butter in a large stock pot and fry the onion gently over a low heat for about 10 mins until translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and cook gently for 2 mins.
Tip in the nettles, rice, stock, peas and mint and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes (until rice is cooked).
Liquidise to a smooth, green puree. Season to taste. Re-heat to serve.
Try it and see!