Sunday, May 8, 2016

Foraged spring soup: greenbriar and potato

Happy Mother's Day! In the spirit of the day, here is a wildcrafted dish that would be perfect with brunch! And it comes together quickly, so you and mom can spend the morning together in the woods, and whip this up when you get back.

You know how spring greens just seem to pair naturally with potatoes? I think it's because, at the end of a hard winter, our ancestors would only have root vegetables left, and they would be eager to mix them up with those sweet, fresh, first greens of spring. In addition to much needed variety and nutrition, wild greens would have given our forefathers a food source when they most needed it: when their own reserves were spent from the winter, but when planted crops hadn't yet begun to produce.

So I made this dish with that heritage in mind.

Leaving the skin on the potatoes increases the nutrition. To keep the dish vegan, but to add some meatiness, I think a garnish of sautéed mushrooms would really complete this soup well. Next time!

I have to be honest, I did not expect this soup to turn out THIS well! The greenbriar has an excellent leek-like taste, especially with the additional onions. Plus something about the flavor really reminds me of dill, which goes so well with the potatoes.

Perhaps not the most appetizing to look at, but it tastes really good!

Greenbriar and potato soup

Serves 3-4 as a starter or side, 2 as a lunch 

3 medium red potatoes, skin on, cubed
2-3 cups roughly chopped Greenbriar tender tips
1 cup chopped sweet onion
4 cups of quality vegetable stock or broth
2 tbs. butter or olive oil
Kosher salt
2 tsp ground cumin

Set aside some additional tips and young leaves of the greenbriar to serve as a garnish

  1. Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil. Add the cubed potatoes and 1/2 tsp of Kosher salt. Boil for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are half-tender.
  2. Add the greenbriar to the potatoes, and continue to boil for another 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate sauté pan, heat the oil or butter. Add the onion and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent. 
  4. Drain your potatoes and greenbriar. Add both to the onion/cumin pan, and continue to sauté until the greenbriar is lightly caramelized/translucent. 
  5. Heat the stock to just under boiling. Add all your veggies in and puree, either with an immersion blender or in batches in a food processor. 
  6. Serve immediately, but it also reheats really well. I imagine a dollop of creme fraiche would be great!