Friday, 16 April 2010

Wild Garlic and Potato soup

About this time last year, fellow Essex food blogger, and all round good guy Food Urchin was kind enough to supply me with some wild garlic from the abundant supply he has growing in his garden.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to actually use it in any cooking. It was the end of the wild garlic season, the plant was small – the few leaves soon shrivelled, and died…the whole thing looked decidedly unhealthy. Unsure at the time whether my gardening ‘touch of death’ was at work, once again, or whether this was just the natural order of things…. I planted what was left, crossed my fingers and tried to forget about it.

Fast forward nearly a year, and spring has sprung, dormant plant life in my garden has burst into bud, blossom beautifully framed by cloudless blue skies is apparent everywhere, birds sing, fox’s play, baby lambs bleat… you get the picture, and best of all – what’s this? My ‘dead’ Wild Garlic has seemingly overnight, grown into a fine looking shrub with an abundance of pungent, beautiful, lush, verdant leaves draped seductively against each other.

With not a moment to lose, and determined to get as much use out of it as possible, I’ve been snipping bits off here and there…. Wild Garlic Mayonnaise as a dip for last weeks Scotch Eggs, Wild Garlic stirred through scrambled eggs for a breakfast, but still I feel like I’m not getting enough out of it, so yesterday I decided to go for broke – strip all of the decent size leaves, and make some Wild Garlic Soup.

A quick search threw up a Tom Norrington-Davies (recipe HERE), which appealed to me (I really have a thing about potatoes in soup – no idea why, but I love them, might be a childhood thing – oxtail soup with boiled potatoes conjuring up fond memories). In no time at all, I had a large heap of wild garlic leaves sitting on the kitchen worktop, and the other ingredients were assembled, ready to go.

Luckily, I had some beautiful homemade stock in the freezer – (seriously, when you next have roast chicken DO make stock from the leftover carcass, it may seem like a pain in the arse at the time (it’s not) – but you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts later). The kitchen was soon awash with the fresh pungent aroma of wild garlic and the gorgeous comforting smell of hot chicken stock.



I served the soup steaming hot with crusty bread from the local bakers, (just for that extra carb overload) and it was delicious. The wild garlic’s very distinctive but subtle taste was complimented nicely by the onions, and the roughly pulped potato and bread added a nice thick rustic texture – the addition of some crumbled dry chilli giving a nice little kick. Lovely stuff, and very simple to make.

I have to add; there is something incredibly exciting about cooking with produce grown in your own garden, especially so with an ingredient like Wild Garlic – which has quite a short season, and is, as its name suggests, a wild plant. It grows all over the place in woodland apparently, but whenever I’ve looked for it – I can never bloody find any. If you can lay your hands on the stuff, either through foraging (with better luck than mine), or perhaps getting some to plant in your garden then do, it’s very rewarding to cook with.

14 comments:

feedetgastro said...

You made that. I mean you really made that from scratch. Wild garlic grown in your own garden and your own chicken stock. Tres bien, sir.

I made my own chicken stock recently (http://bit.ly/ctcBoQ) and then made risotto and I got a similar high from that. But this is next level. I commend you.

Lost in the Larder said...

I love wild garlic, I just picked/stole a bunch from my mum's garden when I visited this week. You have definately got me thinking about what to have it with. Good work Dan. Love it!

fran39 said...

Looks fantastic, Dan, and how brilliant to have your own crop. I've been gorging on wild garlic pesto: nom nom nom

Dan said...

FeedetGastro - You know what, I hadn't thought of it like that. You're right. If only I'd grown me own spuds (oooer) - then the whole thing would have been crafted by my own fair hand. By the way, congratulations on the chicken stock, always a really worthwhile excercise. Good Work.

Lost in the Larder - Stealing wild garlic from your mums garden is for winners! good work fella.

Fran - Thanks very much, funny you should say that as wild garlic pesto is what I wanted to make, but didn't have any Parmesan to hand. The soup was second choice.

Anonymous said...

David Hart at The FitzWalter Arms, CT3 1PJ, makes an immense Wild Garlic Soup! Goodnestone has an ambundance of Wild Garlic. It is also nice wilted in the cooking juices of a roast chicken!

The Shed said...

Oooh I must make this. Had the loveliest wild garlic and potato soup at St John B&W in February and will try and recreate...anyone know know where to pick wild garlic in Hackney?

Hugh Wright said...

Yum yum YUM. Sounds and looks delicious. As does the soup, boom boom. I also make my own stock and now feel all butch & hunter-gatherer-y.

Thanks Dan!

Dan said...

Annonymous - Loved the FitzWalter Arms when I visited, it wouldn't suprise me that the soup is lovely.

The Shed - Hackney, tough call - but I bet you can find it growing wild somewhere.

Hugh Wright - Thanks very much. Hah - good work, making your own stock is for winners!

Lizzie said...

I love wild garlic, especially in pasta. The soup sounds delicious too.

Gourmet Chick said...

Wow that wild garlic looks brilliant - I had some wild garlic on top of risotto at Ms Marmite Lover's restaurant the other week which was lovely

Dan said...

Lizzie - Thanks

Gourmet Chick - Wild Garlic is superb, so subtle it's very versatile - lovely stirred through rissoto or scrambled eggs or any number of things actually.

Kitchen Worktops said...

I love wild garlic! This soup is delicious. Thanks for sharing the article.

Anonymous said...

Be careful if you plant wild garlic in your garden - it spreads like wildfire if you don't watch it.

Matthew Anderson said...

uhhhhhhhhh I had the same problem.... Wilted and died, then it grows like crazy the year or two after. Lovely stuff.Spring is here again ;-)