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default Alexanders Soup

Post by chickenofthewoods on 22nd February 2010, 9:48 am

I was inspired to devise this quick recipe using Alexanders the other day, after reading in FLORA DIAETETICA that:

'The leaves too were boiled in broths and soups. It is a warm comfortable plant to a cold, weak stomach, and was in much esteem among the monks, as may be inferred by its still being found in great plenty by old abbey walls.'

Sounds like an ideal candidate for a warming winter broth doesn't it? In the past I've largely avoided Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) because raw it has a very perfumed aroma and a quite strong, almost spicy distinct taste. But cooking often alters a plant's personality and such is the case with this one. If you try it, please do take great care about identifying your plant correctly as immature spring leaves can sometimes be confusing (use a really good guide like Roger Phillips' Wild Food).

The measurements are a bit rough and ready but I cooked this over a campfire last week so just refine things to your liking when you have the luxury of a kitchen.

Half an onion, finely chopped
1 carrier bag of fresh young alexander leaves, washed and trimmed
2 medium potatoes washed and cubed (you can leave the skins on or not, it's up to you)
Salt and pepper to season
A small carton of single cream
Arrowroot to thicken (this is optional)

Put a knob of butter into a large pan and allow it to melt, but do not let it burn. Add the onion and cook till transparent. Again, make sure you don't let it burn. Drop the potato cubes in and let them cook a little stirring coninuously, then add just enough water to cover them. Put a lid onto your pan and leave to simmer for 10 minutes or so - until they are just getting soft. In the meantime, chop your alexander leaves. If, like me you're out in the woods and don't have the luxury of a hand blender, just shred it as fine as you can. If you're at home, you can coarse chop them and at the end blend the finished soup for a really creamy texture.

Add the Alexanders to the pan, stirring them into the potatoes. Top up the water by a morsel and put the lid back on for another 5/10 minutes. Once everything's cooked together for a while the mixture can be mashed with a fork (I use a round wood masher made from a piece of chestnut branch - very bushcraft!). This allows the potato to thicken the soup. Pour in the carton of single cream, and season to taste. Simmer until the soup is warmed through, and serve with fresh (preferably warm!) buttered, crusty wholegrain bread.

Note: If the soup turns out too thin for your preference, just stir in a teaspoon or two of arrowroot, thinned in a little water.

I hope you enjoy it. :flower:

Chi vo far 'na bona zena magn'un erb d'tut la mena

Posts : 355
Join date : 2009-11-08
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default Re: Alexanders Soup

Post by Sparhawk on 23rd February 2010, 9:17 am

Simples! ...

"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
                 The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

                "Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
    leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."

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