creamy nettle-chive soup

I love making soup with the nettles I collect from the yard every spring. There’s something very satisfying about making dinner out of something you’d otherwise throw away. The best part is, it has a lovely green herbal taste that really captures the feel of spring. One note of caution, when picking and working with the nettles, wear gloves until you cook them or soak them in a bowl of water. (Adapted from Jerry Traunfeld’s Herbfarm Cookbook)



2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons long grain white rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
5 cups slightly packed nettle leaves, arugula or watercress
1 cup packed baby spinach
1 cup sliced fresh chives
2 tablespoons heavy cream, optional

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until softened. Add the chicken broth, rice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low to low and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until the rice is very tender and soft.

Increase heat and bring soup mixture to a boil, add the nettles, spinach and chives and boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree until smooth with immersion blender or cool slightly and puree in batches in blender. Serve drizzled with a little heavy cream, if desired.

4 servings