Sorrel & Roasted Potato Soup
I can’t tell you how many times a customer came up to me last season while I was working at the Headhouse Farmers Market and, upon buying a shocking number of sorrel bunches, raved on and on about the soup they planned to make with it – schav. This Russian/Polish/Yiddish classic apparently had a large following of devotees among the shoppers at the market, but I’d never tried it myself. As much as I love sorrel, I wasn’t convinced I wanted it as a base for a cold soup. From what I gathered from these schav zealots, you put a ton of sorrel in a pot of water and waited until it boiled down and then let it chill. I pictured a lumpy green slime with a distinctively bitter taste to boot. Of course, I misunderstood.
With gobs of sorrel growing like gangbusters in the container on my deck, I decided it was time to work out my apprehensions and confusion about this much touted sorrel soup. As it turns out, schav is a complex soup, both in flavor and in concept. Since its origin is a bit muddled, it seems the recipe has also gotten a bit jumbled along the way and across the generations. As I went on an online treasure hunt for a “traditional” schav recipe, I quickly discovered recipes from all over the world and all with a unique twist to the list of ingredients. The only ingredients that seemed “mandatory” were the sorrel (duh!) and at least one egg.
Ironically, after searching high and low (electronically speaking, of course) for the perfect cold sorrel soup recipe, I found the one I fancied the most right on my own cookbook shelf. This one, which I’ve decided for the sake of full disclosure to call Sorrel & Roasted Potato Soup, seemed to have more umph, including potatoes and cucumbers to offset the zing of the sorrel. Oh, and by the way, in case you’re worried the way I was, the sorrel doesn’t get lumpy at all – rather it just sort of dissolves to create a luscious and delicious broth. Thumbs up for the “schav”!
Chilled Sorrel & Roasted Potato Soup
Adapted from A Good Day for Soup
2 large bunches of sorrel
1 small onion, finely diced
4 C. water
1 egg, beaten
¾ C. sour cream
Salt and pepper
3 C. roasted potatoes*
1 small cucumber, finely diced
*To make the roasted potatoes, scrub and cube about five medium potatoes. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and other seasonings as desired. Roasted in a preheated oven at 425 F for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown and soft. Set aside to cool.
Wash the sorrel well and remove the tough ribs from each leaf. Roughly chop or tear the leaves. In a large saucepan, simmer the sorrel and diced onions in the water for 20 minutes. Remove the from heat. Using a ladle, slowly stream some of the hot liquid into the eggs while whisking at the same time, about a cup. Whisk the egg mixture back into the main soup pan.
Transfer soup to a bowl, cover and chill until ready to serve (should chill for at least 2 hours). Stir in the sour cream until well blended and taste for salt and pepper. Add potatoes and cucumber and serve immediately.