Nettle soup served at a restaurant in London.
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Nettle soup is a traditional soup prepared from stinging nettles. Nettle soup is eaten mainly during spring and early summer, when young nettle buds are collected. Today, nettle soup is mostly eaten in Scandinavia, Iran, Ireland and Eastern Europe, but historically consumption of nettles was more widespread. Nettle stew was eaten by inhabitants of Britain in the Bronze Age, 3000 years ago.
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A typical Swedish recipe for nettle soup involves first blanching the nettles, and then straining them from the liquid. The liquid is then strained again to remove the dirt (pieces of sand or gravel) from it. Then a roux is made, with butter and flour, onto which the "nettle water" (the water in which the nettles were blanched) is poured. The nettles are chopped very finely, or puréed, together with the other ingredients, which typically include chives (or ramson or garlic), and chervil or fennel. The chopped or puréed nettles and herbs are then put into the nettle water, brought to a boil, and then left to simmer for a few minutes. Some recipes call for discarding the nettle water and replacing it with chicken or lamb stock, but according to others this way of making the soup takes away the natural taste of the nettles. The soup is commonly served with sliced boiled eggs, and occasionally with poached eggs.
In popular culture
In Maeve Binchy's posthumously published, final novel, A Week in Winter (2012, Orion), Irish native Frank Hanratty takes an American visitor he has befriended, an actor masquerading as "John", to visit "an old film director", who serves them nettle soup (Chapter 5, page 63).
In Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Ms. Price lists Stewed Nettles among the list of foods she eats.
- Dalya Alberge (2011-12-04). "http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/dec/04/bronze-age-archaeology-fenland". The Observer. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
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