Sorrel So Real

Soup in bowl
Photograph by Bryan Gardner

The first greens of a Maine spring make a soup that’s bright, rich, and perfect for still-cool evenings. Just ask Martha Stewart.

[dropcap letter=”L”]eafy, sour-ish sorrel is as hardy as it is tasty, meaning you can start the long-stemmed herb a few weeks before the last frost — and since you can harvest it 60 days after planting, it’s likely the first garden veggie to arrive in your kitchen each spring. Use it to make this piquant cream soup, a staple dish around Eastern Europe, where sorrel is wild-harvested as early as April. When we saw Martha walking viewers through this recipe on PBS (she praised its “zesty tang”), we knew it was perfect for a crisp spring New England night.

Whole-Foods-MarketMartha’s Sorrel Soup

This soup can be served hot or cold. Servings: 10

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus
1 to 11/2 tablespoons, softened, for

1/3 cup minced onion

3 cups packed sorrel leaves, washed,
dried, and cut into thin strips

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups chicken stock, boiling

2 large egg yolks

3/4 cup heavy cream

crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving

fresh chervil, chopped, for serving

1. In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, without browning, until softened, 6–8 minutes. Add sorrel and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Stir over low heat for about 5 minutes.

2. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring, over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Stir in boiling stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a small bowl, beat yolks lightly with cream. Whisking constantly, slowly pour 1 cup hot stock mixture into egg mixture, then return back to saucepan. Do not let soup boil after egg yolks have been added or yolks will curdle.

4. Stir in softened butter and serve hot with a dollop of crème fraîche and chervil. If serving the soup chilled, do not add the softened butter.

Join us for a Mother’s Day Cooking Class, featuring this recipe.