I love the refreshing lemon taste of sorrel. You can buy small bunches in gourmet stores, but anyone who has cooked sorrel knows you need more than a bunch.
In Riga, Latvia you can buy sorrel by weight and I made my first sorrel soup using smoked bacon and thick, rich sour cream. My friend Ilze, who has serious Latvian credentials, told me if I got sorrel started in my garden it would grow like wildfire, so I went searching for seeds. No luck.
Then my friends Bruno and Karen, who live in Poitiers, France and keep a patch of stinging nettles just so they can make pasta, sent me French sorrel seeds, which I planted at the end of last summer. Now I have two flourishing plots of sorrel, one in my deck planter and the other in my garden, where so far it has only been attacked by a few slugs as passersby fail to recognize it.
Sorrel is delicious with bacon, a natural with eggs, in a salad, or melt the leaves in butter to create a creamy purée. Now that the heat has arrived I am making cold sorrel soup, which has a wonderfully refreshing lemon acidity. My recipe is an adaption of Margaret Costa’s. You might be tempted to use chicken stock, but I think it overpowers the soup, so I use a vegetable stock made from simmering pea pods and mint.
Cook a chopped onion in butter, then add 250g of peeled, diced potato (about 2) and 1 litre of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a pinch of sugar. Simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are cooked then remove from the heat.