An absolute favorite of the kids at the school garden, and known in the under 10 set as Sour Leaf. It’s the first thing they ask for when they are turned loose for their weekly moment of zen in the urban farmyard.
Sorrel starts well from seed and I will be working up a tray this weekend. Until I buy a soil block maker, I will start with an empty flat, lay a piece of tulle or burlap on the bottom to line. Fill with moist, friable soil and poke evenly spaced, shallow holes for the seeds. I like to cover with vermiculite as it retains moisture and helps keep the seedlings from drying out while germinating. This clump pictured above, could probably be dug up and separated in to several good sized individuals. When it comes time to harvest, just pick leaves as needed. If you have a nice row of plants, go ahead and cut completely…it will come back nicely. Do this often to avoid letting the plant go to seed. It will last all year in inland LB if it gets partial shade. This would be a great item to replace the shade garden cauliflower over at Victory Home Garden! I’ll throw you some baby Sorrel when they’re ready for transplant Adrianna!!
Sorrel was always a popular ingredient with the European Chefs I worked for in the 80’s…mostly served up in a bowl as soup. Here is a good recipe from Epicurious.
Sorrel, Pea, and Leek Soup Gourmet | April 1996
Can be prepared in 45 minutes or less but requires additional unattended time. Makes about 4 1/2 cups
White and pale green parts of 3 leeks (about 3/4 pound), chopped, washed well, and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small boiling potato (about 1/4 pound)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cold water plus additional to thin soup
1/2 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/4 pound sorrel*, stems discarded and leaves washed, spun dry, and cut crosswise into thin strips (about 3 cups loosely packed)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
In a large saucepan cook leeks in oil with salt and pepper to taste over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Peel potato and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add potato, broth, and 1 cup water to leeks and simmer, covered, about 10 minutes, or until potato is tender. Stir in peas and simmer, uncovered, about 5 minutes, or until peas are tender.
In a blender purée potato mixture with sorrel in 2 batches until very smooth, transferring to a bowl. Whisk in sour cream and remaining 1/2 cup water, adding additional to thin soup to desired consistency. Chill soup, covered, at least 2 hours, and up to 24.Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
I might use borage flowers to garnish and probably use an immersion blender, rather than get out the regular blender. I saw a really good one in Saveur Magazine
current issue. Really great page on kitchen must have gadgets and tools. Loved it!
Also, saw a few comments out there about the color of the soup not being a bright and springy green, as the sorrel leaves are very tender. I believe, if memory serves, the chef would sometimes direct you to blanch a little watercress to brighten up the greens. There is a great book out there from the 80’s, called Secret Ingredients, that has the inside scoop on those untold techniques for polishing a dish. Brightening color, punching up flavors, stretching expensive ingredients and amazing and “magical process of combining flavors”. All fair game and just plain smart tips. Authored by Chef Michael Roberts from the now closed but much celebrated Trumps Restaurant on Melrose.
I just pulled out my book, and he has a recipe in there for Pea and Sorrel Soup. He touts the importance of aromatics in all soups. I agree and always start with a mire poix of 2 onions, 1 carrot, 2 ribs celery and 3 cloves garlic. Going out now, to start the seeds and to check on the strawberries. More on Strawberries tomorrow…I am battling right now with squirrels, rollie pollies-probably mice and birds too.
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