Nettles can be such an overlooked ingredient. Maybe people don't really know what to do with them, and consider them as an annoying weed. Perhaps this was the reason why it was rather challenging for me to find stinging nettles here in Sydney. I know they grow wild further away from the city, but I had no luck finding them in my area. Fortunately I did end up finding nettles at Eveleigh markets, but they came with a hefty price tag.
Nettles have many medicinal qualities, and dried nettle root along with the leaves are widely available to be used as herbal teas. Back in Finland, stinging nettles are often used the same way as spinach to make pancakes and soups, like this one. This is such a simple soup, but so delicious!
Stinging Nettle Soup
200g fresh stinging nettles
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp corn flour or potato starch mixed with some cold water
hard-boiled egg, to serve
1. Wash the nettles (be careful not to touch the leaves as they will sting!) under running water, place them in a large saucepan with water and bring to boil.
2. Blanch the leaves for a couple of minutes then drain and finely chop them (the leaves won't sting after boiling).
3. Return the nettles into the saucepan and cover with vegetable stock (use enough stock to cover and reach a couple of centimetres above the nettles). Bring to boil and let simmer for a few minutes.
4. Take the saucepan off the heat and using a blender or a stab mixer, purée the leaves until fine. Add some freshly ground black pepper and milk and bring the soup back to simmer. Whisk in the flour mixture and simmer for a couple of minutes without letting the soup come to boil. Serve with a hard boiled egg.