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What Is Sorrel Soup?

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  • Written By: Megan Shoop
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Sorrel soup is a traditional Eastern European dish primarily showcasing the flavors of the weedy sorrel plant. This dark green, leafy herb has a tart, citrus-like flavor that gives cream-based soups a bright, fresh note. Potatoes, cream, carrots, butter, and even hard-boiled eggs sometimes make an appearance in sorrel soup. It is generally a warming, comforting dish perfect for cool evenings in early spring and frosty fall nights.

Full of the nutrients and vitamins inherent in most leafy greens, sorrel often grows in clumps and is usually harvested as a young, light green plant in the spring, and as a heartier, darker vegetable in the autumn. The leaves themselves are spear-shaped with mottled red stems. Some cooks like to harvest sorrel right from their back yards, but those unfamiliar with foraging practices and regulations may also find it in their local grocery stores. Purchasing sorrel may also help keep cooks from accidentally picking the wrong herb.

For a particularly fresh-tasting soup, it is frequently recommended that cooks use the freshest sorrel possible. This means that cooks should typically wait to purchase or harvest their greens until the day they plan to make the soup. The sorrel is then chopped and either sautéed until soft or added to an already-bubbling sorrel soup mixture. Either method works well, though some say sautéing the sorrel first helps preserve its flavor.

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The base for sorrel soup usually consists of water or chicken stock, potatoes, and carrots. The hard root vegetables are boiled until tender, sometimes with the addition of parsley or cilantro. The sorrel is then added to the hot mixture and everything is pureed together with an immersion blender or a food processor until creamy. Some cooks like to add a dollop of heavy cream or sour cream to the finished soup for extra richness.

As with most recipes, there are several variations for sorrel soup. Rice may replace the potatoes, especially for those that prefer whole grains over starches. Other root vegetables, such as rutabagas, may be added to the soup base for extra nutrients. Many Polish versions of sorrel soup call for hard-boiled eggs as a garnish. The eggs may be sliced or quartered and dropped, hot and fresh, into each serving of soup. Some like to add spinach to the soup to underscore the flavor of the sorrel, while others enjoy the sweetness of a raw carrot garnish floated on the top of each dish.

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whiteplane
Post 3

I have always wanted to grow sorrel but I have never known what to do with it. It is nice as a salad green but only on occasion. After reading this article I think I might give the soup a try and think about growing some. I love hearty and creamy soups with a sharp contrast.

nextcorrea
Post 2

I lived in Romania for two years and I fell in love with sorrel soup while I was over there. I was studying and I was staying with a host family. My host mother considered sorrel soup her specialty.

I spent most of my time with my head in a book at the library so it was always nice to come home to a fresh bowel of sorrel soup. One thing they don't tell you about Romania is that it rains all the time. A long walk over cobblestone streets and you would feel like a soaked beach towel. The sorrel soup really helped to drive away the damp.

Ivan83
Post 1

I absolutely love sorrel soup and I'm always dismayed that it doesn't show up on menus that often. Unless you go to an Eastern European restaurant you are not likely to see it but I think it has broader appeal than that.

Luckily it is really easy to make at home. The key is to have good sorrel leaves. They are the centerpiece. Everything else is just for balance and filling but the sorrel is the star. I have been able to find some great sorrel leaves at my local farmers market when they are in season.

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