(recipe from the book Local Flavors used with permission of the author, Deborah Madison)
Serves 2 – 4.
Plus sorrel is something you want to use by the bunch, not just by the leaf, and
the farmers’ market is one place you can often find this tart, lemony herb in
Lovage is harder to find, even at the farmers’ market, but ask an herb seller if she has some or would consider growing it. It’s an easy herb to grow, and its bracing, dynamic flavor adds a tot of personality to all kinds of dishes. Together these herbs give this soup a mysterious flavor that’s a little hard to place but definitely exciting. (A small bunch of cilantro would do the same thing, lacking the other herbs.) Made with the lesser amount of liquid, the soup is thick and hearty. Using the full amount makes a more refined soup.
Serve with small croutons crisped in olive oil or with a few tablespoons of cooked rice in each bowl.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
3 to 4 cups (6 to 8 ounces) sorrel, stems removed
4 cups chard leaves
1 cup lovage or cilantro leaves, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
lemon juice or white wine vinegar
1/3 cup crème fraîche
- Warm the butter and oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, potatoes, carrot. sorrel, and chard, along with the water clinging to its leaves. Add two thirds of the
lovage and sprinkle 1½ teaspoons salt over all. Cover and cook over low heat
until the greens have collapsed and the potatoes are partially cooked, about 15
minutes. If the pan seems too dry at any point, add water in small increments so
that nothing burns.
- Add the stock or water, bring to a boil, and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Puree or leave the soup with some texture. Stir in the remaining lovage. Taste for salt and season with pepper and lemon juice or vinegar to taste to bring out the flavors. Sometimes several adjustments are necessary to get it right. Stir in the crème fraîche and serve.