Meet this beautiful sorrel and rice soup.
This is a traditional soup my grandma used to cook in early and mid spring, since sorrel is the first thing to bloom out of all the greens.
My grandma taught me to recognise it and have a bite every time I found myself in the garden. Hmm, could that be the reason why I fell in love with sour ingredients?
Sorrel is a leafy green vegetable, spinach like, but with a lemony flavour. It is a perennial plant, which means you’ll have it in your garden for a few good years without planting it again.
It's great fresh or cooked, and what I love the most about it is its long harvest time. It is the first plant that will develop in the early, cold spring days and you’ll also have other rounds in the summer.
So you can preserve a good amount of it, by its own or in combination with other veggies.
I remember going with my grandmother and harvesting as much as we could, stocking all the leaves in her apron. I would help her prepare the rice grain by grain, looking for chaff or weed seeds and then washing it 3 or 4 times in water.
Then I would go and play and she would make the soup very quickly, leaving it on the stove covered in a white towel.
The combo of grains and greens is always a good idea, but what makes it even better here is the balance between the two. The sweetness of the white rice will immediately calm down the tangy taste of the sorrel, making it so palatable.
You will find two versions of the soup here. One is the traditional one, as my grandma used to make it (using butter and heavy cream) and the other one is the veganized version that tastes very similar to the first one.
We don’t really have vegan butter here in Romania, but if you can find it, it is even better for replacing the extra virgin oil in the recipe.
Have you ever tried sorrel? How do you cook it?
Early spring: Sorrel and rice soup
Vegan, Plant-based, Soy-free, Gluten-free, Traditional vegetarian option included
Total time: 1h 30 mins.
1 large onion
4 medium garlic cloves
1 small parsley root
1 small parsnip root
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for the traditional version, use 1 tbsp butter)
100 g rice (for this recipe it is best to use a short grain rice, like bomba or originario type)
500 ml filtered water
300 g fresh sorrel
1 bunch fresh dill
4-5 tbsp plant based cooking cream (for the traditional version use 2 tbsp full fat sour cream)
1-2 extra tbsp EVOO to finish, or vegan butter (for the traditional version, use an extra ½ tbsp butter)
Place the water in a pan and heat until boiling point.
Finely chop the onion, dice the parsley and parsnip root and slice the garlic cloves. Keep half of the garlic for later.
In a pan, add 2 tbsp EVOO (or 1 tbsp butter). Add the chopped onion, roots and garlic.
Stir and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent.
Wash the rice 3-4 times in cold water and put aside.
When the onion and roots are ready, add hot water. Add enough sea salt to this point.
Add the rice and let simmer on medium heat.
Wash the sorrel well and if the leaves are big, cut in 2.
When the rice is cooked, add all sorrel and cook for another 5-7 minutes.
Taste and add more salt if needed.
Finish with 4-5 tbsp plant-based cooking cream (or sour cream) and 1-2 tbsp EVOO (or ½ tbsp butter)
Add freshly ground pepper.
Tips: You can store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If the sorrel is too acidic for you, use only half the quantity and replace the other half with spinach.