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.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can let the soup cool for 10-15 minutes, then blend it in a traditional stand blender.
Sheep sorrel contains oxalic acid, so be mindful when consuming it if you are prone to kidney stones.
I often make a half batch because I get tired of picking the tiny sheep sorrel leaves.
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