Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bowl of Green

I've been growing a pot of sorrel on the patio, at the suggestion of a reader who wished to spare me the agony of eating wild, foraged sourgrass. It's indestructable; in fact it's the only plant I've had any luck with this year.
It has survived a drastic heat wave, heavy rainfall, and just overall neglect.
In fact, I've neglected to sample its tangy leaves until just yesterday (not counting the time I layered a couple of raw leaves on a cold chicken sandwich — yum).
But I probably wouldn't have gotten around to using it if I hadn't been smacked with the munchies after reading another blogger's ode to watercress soup.
I sent Cranky out to score a bag. (Of watercress!) What he came back with really turned me on; it was a tangle of Star Route Farms' ancho cress — very green, very peppery, very wide leaves (as the name "ancho" suggests). But it was only half a bag, and I was jonesing for more.
That's when I turned to the pot on the patio. (Flowerpot!) There was enough homegrown (sorrel!) to add to the pot. (Soup pot!)
The resulting soup had a wonderfully confusing flavor: the expected sour zip from the sorrel, and a slightly diminished peppery pop from the cress (I think the cream calmed it down). The sorrel, as I had been warned, turns khaki when it's cooked, and I felt I was tasting the flavor of "khaki," even.
But the cress stays bright green.
Zoink! What a beautiful bowl of soup.


Sam said...

I had the ancho cress this week and it was wonderful, mmm. I was wondering if that was what I infact had the previous time assuming it was watercress. But it did look a bit different this week.

I have also made sorrel soup on my blog before with a recipe I call "Looks like sludge from Shrek's Swamp"

cookiecrumb said...

Yeah, Sam. You're the one who warned me the soup would be khaki. I gotta say, I think a soup of pure sorrel would be mono-dimensional next to this. Try it.
(If you come back and read this -- what was the pun or whatever in your cress title? I'm simpleminded and I didn't get it.)

Sam said...

Hot Cross Bun
Hot Cress Fun

maybe you have to be English
to see how smart I am - I think only Catherine from Albion Cooks noticed.

I have to tell you that the sorrel soup is not in the slightest bit one-dimensional - it is in fact one of the most incredible soups I have ever made and nothing like the watercress one. It is very rich - it contains egg yolk!

It is a soup only for special occasions, having said that i don't doubt that it is good in the watercress too, just a different kind of good.

I can't be having anyone dissing my Shrek sludge, no siree. It even caused a couple of carnivores (really, peple who dont like their veggies) to lick their lips with joy.

cookiecrumb said...

Well then! Egg yolk. Must try. I do like sour flavors, and I love rich.

kudzu said...

Cookie -- Good thing you're keeping your sorrel contained in a pot (flower pot): it's indomitable and spreads and if it is in a garden you have to keep it beaten back....My friend Ashley likes to add sorrel as a finish to fish dishes with a butter/wine sauce, chiffonaded and added at the last minute to keep its green color. Then there are the beet/sorrel soups of Middle Europe (look 'em up), all very strong-flavored. Glad you got around to using the stuff.

vanessa said...

What tips can you offer a very novice (and very lethal) gardener who would love to try to plant sorrel in a pot that would go somewhere on her patio? I love sorrel. LOVE IT.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: In fact, it was you who suggested I buy a plant, and since everything in my patio is in a pot, well it all worked out. I pretty much stripped it bare the other day, but it is vigorous and will regrow.

Vanessa: Didn't you get the point? The plant is indestructable. :-D
The great thing about potted plants is you can move them around until you find the location they like best. Mine's in sunlight about four hours a day (summer). And sorrel is very "noisy" about telling you when it's thirsty: its leaves start drooping visibly. You can't go wrong. Besides, a starter plant is only a buck or two at the nursery. Buy a bag of organic potting soil and a pretty vessel. Go.

Kevin said...

I once spent a pleasant half hour wandering through the garden of a classy Virginia B&B picking and tasting with the chef as we tried to figure out a way to keep cooked sorrel green. No luck, but when my travel-mate showed up she said, "I knew I'd find you here."

cookiecrumb said...

Kevin: Did we already talk about this? It sounds so Thomas Jefferson-y. Lucky you.

Anonymous said...

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