Although I was disappointed to find out that cleavers and chickweed don't grow abundantly in this part of the state, I was delighted when I noticed a copious amount of sheep sorrel, Rumex acetosella, cousin to my old friend wood sorrel. Much like its sorrelly cousin, sheep sorrel has a delightfully sour tang. Its greens are a bit hardier than wood sorrel, though roughly the same size, and I was pleasantly surprised when the sheep sorrel kept on sorreling even after a series of six or seven frosts.
Determined to make the most of this lingering leafy green, I set out to investigate all the different ways that I could stuff it down my gullet. While it's a no-brainer to include sheep sorrel in salads and sandwiches, I wanted a recipe that starred sheep sorrel instead of relegating it to the sidelines.
In a thrilling turn of events, while I was perusing one of my favorite cookbooks, Strudel, Noodles and Dumplings: The New Taste of German Cooking, I stumbled upon a recipe for Sorrel (plain sorrel) soup! It warmed my heart to see a recipe featuring a wild green in a conventional cookbook. While I am not personally familiar with the sorrel that she refers to, Rumex acetosa, also known as the common dock, I decided to adapt the recipe to my local sheep sorrel.
Unfortunately, sheep sorrel trades its beautiful green hue for a pale vomitous yellow when exposed to heat so I decided to pep up the color of the soup with a hit of fresh spinach leaves. A few more tweaks and conversions, and the Sheep Sorrel Soup was born! Of course I was tempted to add some sort of lamb into the soup to make it a doubly sheep sorrel soup, but I exercised restraint and left the soup as it is - a pleasant, soul-warming dish to help me accept the blanket of wintery white that threatens to descend from the skies at any moment. Enjoy!
A surprisingly filling soup to ease the transition from autumn into winter. Adapted from Sorrel Soup from Strudel, Noodles and Dumplings by Anja Dunk.
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