Here is a recipe for an old husman classic that has become hip again and super trendy, to the point where you may now find it served in the trendiest of restaurants (perhaps "pimped" with a splash of white wine). This soup is delicious, soo cheap (you can find free nettles growing in the wild - pick the tender shoots, wear gloves!), and bursting with vitamins and vital minerals such as magnesium. Does it get any better than that?
In our family this soup is traditionally served on Valborg (Walpurgis night) which is when Swedes sing in the spring! We gather and light big bonfires and try to drive out the winter. Distinguished people hold speeches in honor of spring and the arrival of the sun. Choirs, often alumni choirs, perform classic bombastic songs.
When I was a teen I used to gather with my friends and we would "sing May" in the village. This was a very old tradition that now sadly seems to have died out. We would go around to the different houses and sing. We had quite a repertoir of old traditional songs. If people liked it (or perhaos to shut us up!?) they would throw money at us. We used to collect a handsom sum that we spent by throwing a party! In Lund, the alumni choir continue the tradition by performing on the university stairs every year on May 1st.
Here is the recipe for this wonderful, frugal, simple spring soup!
2 liters of tender nettle shoots
0.5 tsp salt
1 onion, chopped
half a carrot, grated
1 l chicken stock
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour + splash of milk, stirred into a paste
1.5 dl whipping cream
hard boiled eggs, halved
(optional) salmon, graved or cold smoked
Rinse the nettles carefully in several batches of water. Hard-boil the eggs and set aside to cool, then peel them.
Blanch the nettles with the salt. Pour off the water. Chop the nettles finely.
Soften onion and carrot in the butter for a few minutes, without browning. Then add nettles and let them simmer along. Pour over the stock, stir in the flour paste and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cream, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
Serve in soup bowls with a half egg and perhaps a slice of salmon twisted into a rose. Cut some chives over the top.
That's it! So simple!