Nettle Soup with Beef Tongue, Chives, and Croutons

Adapted from The ForagerChef’s Nettle-Potato Soup with Creme Fraiche, Chives, and Tongue

Serves 8

I’ve always loved purple dead nettle. It comes up first thing in the Spring, transforming swathes of my back yard into miniature kingdoms of delicate green pagodas adorned with tiny purple flowers. But I never knew it was as edible. It turns out that it belongs to the mint family and is packed with nutrients. It tastes like a more complex version of spinach—earthy, but a touch floral, a touch peppery. Now that I’m in the know, I’ll be cooking with this free and delicious “weed” all through the growing season!

This recipe uses beef tongue that has already been cooked, as well as a beef tongue stock, which is simply the reserved water used to boil the tongue. If you don’t feel like cooking beef tongue earlier in the week to have those ingredients for this recipe, sub in whatever meat you prefer and have on hand—pork and chicken would work very nicely here.

Ingredients:

4 TBSP unsalted butter

1 large onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, sliced

3 medium russet potatoes, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

Herbes fondamentales

1 lb purple dead nettle leaves/tops

8 cups beef tongue stock (or chicken stock)

1-1.5 lbs cooked beef tongue, diced

High quality olive oil, for drizzling

Half a lemon, sliced, for drizzling

Créme fraiche, for topping (optional)

Sliced chives, for garnish

Croutons, for topping

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter is foaming, turn the heat to just below medium and add the onions, garlic, and potatoes. Season well with salt, pepper, and herbes fondamentales. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent and the potatoes are easily pierced through with a fork.

Meanwhile, bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Add the purple dead nettle and then turn off; let sit for 30 seconds in the hot water, then drain well and rinse with cold water. Return the nettle to the stockpot and add the stock. Use an immersion blender to purée the nettle, then set the stockpot back on the stove, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.

Add the tongue and the cooked onions, potatoes, and garlic to the soup. Let simmer until the tongue is heated through, then ladle the soup into individual bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and fresh lemon juice, then top with a dollop of crème fraiche, chives, and the croutons.

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