Can Be Served Hot or Cold
With thanks to Katherine Ryden.
- Servings: 4.
Sorrel grows as a perennial and its peak time is early-to-mid summer. It's an herb that can resemble parsley or spinach with has a distinctively sour taste that mellows when it is cooked.
This recipe makes exquisite use of sorrel in one of its most loved ways -- in a summer soup that can be served warm or cold. It's thickened with a potato but can made richer with a little bit of half-and-half or cream.
Remember to wash the leeks very carefully, checking for sand inside the thin layers, because otherwise you'll have a sandy soup and who wants that? Also, when you're cutting the sorrel, make sure you remove all of the stems, including the part that continues up into the leaves because this can be very coarse and may not cook completely, leaving your finished soup with little bits instead of a smooth purée finish.
If you let the soup cool for a while before puréeing in the food processor, it won't rise up and risk an overflow when you start the machine.
- 2 to 3 cups, packed, sorrel leaves, stems removed and discarded, plus 1/4-cup minced sorrel for topping the soup when serving
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 small-to-medium leeks, white parts only, carefully washed and sliced thin (about 1 cup)
- 1 baking potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups homemade or good quality store-bought chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
- Cut the sorrel leaves into thin slices. The best way is to pile them in little stacks, roll the stack like a cigar, and then slice using a method called "chiffonade." Hold aside.
- In a large saucepan (3 to 4 quart), melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the sliced leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pieces soften but not browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the sliced sorrel leaves, the cubed potato and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. The bright green sorrel leaves will darken but this is normal; the color will improve again when you purée the mixture.
- Add the salt and 3 or 4 drops of Tabasco.
- Cook until the potato becomes completely cooked, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to the basket of a food processor or blender and purée.
- Add the half-and-half or cream to add a little more richness and also thin the soup to the consistency you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- If you're going to serve the soup hot, return it to the sauce pan and re-warm.
- If you're serving it cold, transfer to a container and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Top with a sprinkling of minced sorrel leaves as a garnish when serving.