Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

August 24, 2017

© Sang An

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Creamy sorrel soup with harissa

A full-flavoured soup using a green that resembles spinach

Eastern European Jews love sorrel — a green that resembles spinach, but tastes sour like rhubarb — as the base for a summery soup called schav. Big pots of the green get simmered down with water and thickened with beaten egg yolk, then served chilled with sour cream, boiled potato, and chopped fresh radishes and scallions. But its distinctly old-world taste is not everyone’s cup of tea. This adaptation whirs the tangy greens and silky cooked potato into a creamy, full-flavoured soup that can be served either warm or chilled. A drizzle of harissa (a North African hot chili sauce popular in Israel) adds a spicy, Middle Eastern counter note to this Ashkenazi-inspired dish.


4 tbsp. (60 g) unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
5 c. (1.25 L) vegetable broth
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) chunks
12 oz. (340 g) sorrel, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 10.5 c./2.5 L)
1 c. (250 ml) heavy cream
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
sour cream or labneh for serving
harissa for drizzling


Melt the butter until foaming in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes and sorrel, stirring to help the sorrel begin to wilt. (It will seem like too much sorrel at first, but will cook down significantly).

Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Then turn the heat to low, cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

Purée the soup until smooth using an immersion blender or working in batches in a standard blender. Return the soup to the pan, set over low heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

To serve warm, divide into bowls, dollop with sour cream and drizzle with harissa. To serve cold, let the soup cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 1 day. Divide into bowls, dollop with sour cream and drizzle with harissa. Serves 6.

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