The first things to sprout out of our vegetable garden in the spring are rhubarb and sorrel.
Interestingly, they are from the same plant family, and both super hardy and tart. The rhubarb stalks aren’t tall enough yet to sweeten and make into a pie, but the sorrel leaves are young and tender, perfect for a spring elixir.
Come spring, I crave the gorgeous new produce showing up in the market. I’ve only just sown seed for lettuces and other spring treats, but it is pure heaven to head into the backyard and find something I can pick for dinner. It takes a lot of leaves to make a soup that you’re going to want to eat again and again throughout the spring.
Connecticut has an excellent magazine called Edible Nutmeg, and a couple years ago, Deborah Madison shared her recipe for Sorrel Lentil Soup from her book, Vegetable Literacy. She is a chef, author, and a culinary master of vegetables, the often overlooked triad on our dinner plate.
Sorrel Lentil Soup
3/4 cup dry lentils (preferably Le Puy – at Whole Foods, or black beluga)
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf (I didn’t use it)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups water or chicken stock (I used 2 c. stock and 2 c. water)
3 handfuls sorrel leaves, stems removed if large, shredded
1. Rinse the lentils and put them in a soup pot with the onion, bay leaf, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and water or stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft.
2. Puree half the cooked lentils until smooth,(I used an immersion blender), then return to the pot. Add the sorrel and cook for 10 minutes more. Taste for salt, season with pepper, and serve. Stir a spoonful or two of creme fraiche into each bowl.
Can you believe you can have something this delicious this easily? No fat, just pure goodness from the garden.
One warning: the leaves look really pretty when you toss them in the pot but when they hit the heat they turn an un-green color. You’ll get over it when you taste the soup.
Here is my rooster lording it over the vegetable beds before he’s usurped by bees, butterflies, flowers, herbs and luscious homegrown vegetables.