Although I didn’t pick these nettles myself (1 large bunch for $4 at my local farmers markets), if you are lucky enough to have some in your area, put on your Rene Redzepi hat and forage a bounty for your dinner, keeping in mind they are STINGING nettles.
(by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)
Around 150g nettle tops
30-35g knob of butter
1 onion, peeled chopped
1 large or 2 smallish leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp white rice, such as basmati
1 litre vegetable (or chicken) stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
6 heaped tbsp thick, plain yoghurt, to finish
1 small bunch chives, to finish
Pick over the nettles – go through them to remove the leaves and discard the tougher stalks, any stray weeds, bugs or other organic matter.
Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat, add the onion, leek, celery and garlic, cover and sweat gently for 10 minutes, stirring a few times, until soft but not brown.
Add the rice and stock, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Add the nettles, stirring them into the stock as they wilt, and simmer for five minutes or so, until the rice and the nettles are tender (very young nettle tops will need only two to three minutes). Season with plenty of salt and pepper.
Purée the soup in two batches, reheat if necessary and check the seasoning. Serve in warmed bowls, topping each portion with a large dollop of yoghurt and a generous sprinkling of snipped chives.