Wild Mint & Pea Soup

This is a spring recipe but nettles can be used at other times of the year. If you cut back a clump of nettles after they get past their best they will regrow to give you a constant fresh supply. Use the top 4-6 leaves for recipes.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil + extra for serving
25g butter
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced or/and wild garlic leaves
750g fresh peas, shelled (frozen peas are great!!)
75g wild mint leaves, roughly chopped
1 litre vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
75g local hard cheese, freshly grated (optional)

Method:

Gently heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan, add the chopped onion and cook on a gentle heat for 10 minutes or until the onion is soft but not brown. Add the garlic (if using) and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add 3/4 of the peas, the chopped mint leaves, the wild garlic leaves (if using) and 3/4 stock. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and cook on a medium boil for 10 minutes.

Blend the soup in a food processor; you will have a thick puree. Return the puree to the pan, season with salt and pepper and add the remaining peas and stock. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Serve with crusty, fresh bread.

If using cheese place a small mound in the centre of the bowl and pour the soup around it. Drizzle top with a little extra virgin olive oil. This soup is also delicious cold.

Serves: 4 people