Our family is lucky enough to be able to buy super-fresh, uber-local veggies from gardener friends of ours. Our first batch included pea shoots, green onions, rhubarb, and sorrel.
To my knowledge, I had never cooked with or even eaten sorrel. It sounded like something from Outlander. But I figured, sorrel is a green leafy thing, must be good.
And it is! But rather strange, too. I was warned that it’s “tart”, and it is. Sour, actually, in a yummy way, but strong enough that I don’t think I could eat a whole salad of sorrel. We sprinkled bits of it in our salad the other day, but would take a long time to use up all the sorrel we have at that rate.
So yesterday, I looked up sorrel recipes, and read that cooking the sorrel tones it down a bit. I found some recipes that sounded all right, especially soups, but ultimately decided to wing it.
This is how I tend to cook: winging it. Like my mom and siblings, I rarely use a recipe except to bake. And I’m not good at recording what I do when cooking, at least not with any meticulosity. But when this particular soup turned out really well, some friends asked if there was a recipe. So here is something approximating a recipe.
- I coarsely chopped up a medium-large onion and two large cloves of garlic and sautéed them in melted “better butter“* on medium-high heat until they were getting brownish.
- Meanwhile, I chopped up two smallish potatoes (skins on) and then threw them in and crumbled half a head of cauliflower on top.
- I had some frozen vegetable stock (2-3 cups) so I put that in to melt into everything with the lid on.
- I took two big handfuls of sorrel, barely chopped them, and added them a few minutes later. The stock had melted and was a nice brown colour from the onions.
- Once the cauliflower was tender, I took out a couple pieces with one piece of onion and mashed it with a fork to feed to the baby. (This step is optional. I did notice that, with cauliflower for dinner, her night diaper a lot stinkier than usual, despite being just pee. Just in case you do have a baby and follow this step. Hmm. Was that an overshare?)
- By this time, all the veggies were tender and the sorrel had turned brown (the Internet warned me about this – it’s because of the oxalic acid). I added some whole milk (maybe a cup?) and then took The Wand (immersion blender) to the whole thing.
- It was a bit thick so I added a bit more milk and some water (probably another cup’s worth at least) until I liked the look of it, you know, sort of a restauranty consistency.
- The last thing to add was about a cup-and-a-half of grated old cheddar, which I stirred in until blended.
- Then I tasted it, and I was like, “Where’s the sorrel? I don’t even taste it!” So I took another modest handful of the sorrel and chopped it more finely and put it in and did not blend it. It quickly wilted right in and made itself at home.
- I added salt to taste. (Our salt is actually ground butcher salt, which contains soupçons of rosemary, sage, thyme, and marjoram, which were very pleasant but not necessary.)
- We also added fresh black pepper at the table.
Everyone at the table over the age of 4 called it delicious. I was frankly surprised that my experiment worked so well. We agreed it was very nice with the extra bits of sorrel, which still have an acidic kick but somehow work anyway. I like to think that the blended sorrel provided the context for them to shine.
Try it y’self! Tirrah!
*My mom introduced our family to “better butter” ages ago: you soften some salted butter in a container and add vegetable oil in equal proportion, then (carefully) Wand them together. It cuts the saturated fat and salt of the butter while retaining good flavour; it’s cheaper than pure butter all the time; and most importantly, it’s much more spreadable.