And now for something completely different – Irish Nettle Soup by Cake in the country, an old Irish food

So recently (actually quite a long while ago but I’m nothing if not a procrastinator), we had a 20 mile cookalong. I had Jennifer down to sample all the delights of the locality, but whilst we had a gap in the cooking time, we decided to have a wee stroll around the gardens. It just so happened that in the garden/field beside oour veg patch had quite the patch of rather green and young looking nettles. So I donned a pair of rubber gloves and with extreme care and absolutely no stings (woohoo) I gathered a bagful. Foraging within 100metres, great fun.

I used a recipe from one of my (if not my alltime) favourite books of the moment: Forgotten skills of cooking, by Darina Allen. If you don’t own this book, for the love of food go and get it. I’ve kindly linked you to Amazon in the title there!

Without further ado, this is what you need

    45g butter
    110g chopped onions
    150g of potatoes, chopped and peeled
    Salt and pepper
    1litre of chicken stock
    150g young nettles, which you should wash well and chop up
    150mls full cream milk (we have the best milk in the north west, I swear!)

What to do:

  • Melt your butter in a large saucepan.
  • Add your chopped onions and potatoes, and sprinkle in some salt (sea salt) and pepper.
  • Cover with a butter wrapper and put lid on and let them sweat over a low heat for about ten minutes or until tender.
  • Add the stock and boil until the veg is just cooked.
  • Next, add the nettle leaves and simmer uncovered for a few minutes.
  • Add the milk and then liquidise. I had to liquidise for quite a while to get it nice and smooth.
  • The result is a startling green and amazingly fresh flavoured soup. I personally think a cube of feta crumbled over the top makes it rather beautiful!

    In other news, at the request of people needing cute fix:

    Kitteh can FLY

    Kitteh can FLY!

    'S'ok, I haz this'

    ‘S’ok, I haz this! Go ahead… Make mai day’

    10 thoughts on “And now for something completely different – Irish Nettle Soup by Cake in the country, an old Irish food

    1. hmmm I have to say this is one soup I’ve always been curious about. My dad always mentioned it fondly when, as a kid, I would give out/whinge about getting stung by a nettle and wish them out of existence. As if one soup which I’ve never seen him so much as taste would make their existence okay. I think I might have to make him up a pot just to see the look on his face 🙂

      I’ve always wondered though, how do you pick the leaves without getting stung and why doesn’t the soup sting as it’s eaten?

      Thanks for the recipe

      • Hi George, how are you?
        It’s a good way to get your own back on them! I wore rubber gloves to pick- the ones that you buy for theoretically washing the dishes (ahem), and was sting proof. Same goes for chopping. As far as I know (I think I read it somewhere), it’s histamine that stings and that gets boiled away. I’m now wondering if I should invest in topical antihistamine for nettle stings… Maybe they don’t bother me that much as I’m normally on them regularly for hayfever 🙂

    2. That looks like the perfect summer soup! I’ve always shyed away from recipes with nettles in them, I’m always paranoid that I won’t have cooked them enough and they will sting my mouth!!! What makes them loose their sting-ability in the cooking pprocess? I’d love to give this a go!


      • Hi Emmyw,

        As far as I know, what makes it sting is histamine, which is boiled away when you cook it. I vaguely recall reading it somewhere, but must check it out actually..Definitely wear thick gloves when picking though!

    3. I got that cookbook earlier this year and I totally agree with you – it might just be my all-time favourite cookbook, the one I’d take to a desert island.

      • I have Myrtle’s Ballymaloe cookbook- really nice recipes – very traditional, stuff my Dad always talks about! Am glad your day haz been made, they’re too cute for words really. They grow up so fast though, sniffle..

    4. Hi! I love your site! Nettles also lose their sting once they are dried… only fresh nettles can sting you. I read on another site that dock leaves can soothe the sting if you get one. And if you are lactose intolerant, the soup can also be made with water instead of the milk and thickened with flour. I dried my own nettles and am going to try making nettle soup from them.
      Love the kitten too!


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