One of my dad’s favorite stories to tell is the one where he and my mom are hiking in the woods and she went off to take a pee. A few moments later she starts yowling and he runs up to her only to find that she had squatted down in a HUGE patch of stinging nettles. So, from a young age I learned exactly what stinging nettle looked like, and how to avoid it.
In fact, stinging nettles have never been something I’ve seen as a friend, that is until I tried this delicious soup created by Emily Murphy, my host at the sheep farm I was staying at a few weeks ago in Ballymote Ireland. She adapted the recipe from one created by famous Irish cook Darina Allen (credit where credit is due) to be Paleo (and vegan) friendly. I have adapted it yet again to use locally sourced ingredients exclusively (but the vegan ingredients follow, so it caters to all sorts of diets.)
The nettles must be picked when they are young and tender, which is March/April in this part of Ireland. You also MUST use thick gloves when picking them to avoid getting stung, as the sting can create a nasty rash and lasts for days. Heating the nettles in water (or in this case broth) takes the sting out and makes it possible to eat. And oh how good it tastes! I was a nettle virgin before I tried this, and now I am a convert.
1.5 oz butter (or oil, coconut would be good)
4 oz onion
5 oz white potatoes (or sweet potatoes for a slightly sweeter soup)