Lovage grows wild in the south of France and Greece and was planted in my backyard a couple of years ago. Not knowing what to do with it, I was given a soup recipe from Deborah Madison. The hardest part about this week's recipe is collecting the ingredients. Most of them are available from Happy Boys Farms at our market. It also gives you a chance to use those bunches of chard that are exciting to buy then occasionally languish in the refrigerator. The original recipe uses butter and crème fraîche. This is a lower fat version. While the color of the soup turns out to be sort of a dull green, the flavors are incredibly lively and bright.
Cilantro is listed as a substitute for lovage. If anyone makes it using cilantro, please let me know how you liked it. Early reviewers of this recipe say it may be too esoteric.
This is one of the best soups I have had.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small potatoes, thinly sliced
- 3 small carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 cups of sorrel, destemmed
- 4 cups chard leaves
- 1 cup lovage leaves or cilantro, finely chopped
- 5 to 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1-1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/3 cup non-fat sour cream
- Cooked rice or orzo
Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Wash the greens but don't dry them. Add red onion, potatoes, carrots, sorrel, chard, 2/3 cup of lovage (cilantro) and salt. Cook covered until the leaves of the chard and sorrel collapse, about 15 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil, and simmer partially covered about 15 minutes more.
Purée some or all of the soup with a hand held appliance or your food processor. Season in increments to taste with vinegar or lemon juice and black pepper. Stir in sour cream and remaining lovage. Serve with about 3 Tbsp of cooked rice or orzo in each bowl.