Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Looks like Sludge taken from Shrek's Swamp

French-style Sorrel Soup: but tastes good enough to feed a princess.
photograph picture of Classic French style sorrel soup recipe

After eating some delicious goat cheese and sorrel stuffed pasta at new San Francisco restaurant, Range, last week, conversation turned to the less common leafy green vegetable, sorrel. My French friends were telling me how much they missed it. When I saw some at the Farmers market on Saturday, I decided to have a go at making this soup using locally sourced ingredients. Be warned - despite its green colour, this soup is not healthy. Despite its ugly appearance, however, it is 100% delicious.

2 bunches of 4 Sisters Farm sorrel, finely chopped.
4 tbsp Strauss butter
1 tsp flour (not local)
1 cup fatted calf duck demi glace + cup of water
(I used the demi glace because, it was in the fridge needing to be used. 2 cups of good chicken or vegetable stock would work just as well)
3/4 cup Cow Girl Creamery creme fraiche.
2 Marin Sun Farms Egg Yolks
salt and pepper to taste (not local)

Melt butter in a heavy pan over medium heat.
Add sorrel and wilt until sludgy.
Stir in flour.
Heat stock/water mixture separately and then add to sorrel.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Liquidise or blend with a hand blender.
In a bowl, whisk together the cream and egg yolks.
Slowly add, a quarter of a cupful of the sorrel mixture to the cream and blend carefully, so as not to curdle the mixture.
Repeat a few times before adding the cream mixture the hot soup.
Heat carefully until piping hot, without bringing to a boil. Serve immediately.

Locavores August Eat Local Challenge 2005

PS - My locavore efforts yesterday failed spectacularly. I grabbed a quick salad and muffin lunch at Foodles. It was too busy to start asking questions about the source of their food with the lovely cashier who doesn't speak the best English. In the evening I had a pre-arranged meeting at Frascati in San Francisco. I asked them how much of the menu was local and they said, "oh lots". The recommended seasonal heirloom tomato salad was watery and bland. The waitress told me the duck was local. Bullshit! When I researched it later, I found this couldn't be further from the truth. Maple Leaf Farms is the US's largest duck farm, in Illinois, and they supply chains like Walmart, Costco and Safeway.No wonder the meal was lacklustre!

posted in and and and
Looks like Sludge taken from Shrek's Swamp


  • At 2/8/05 08:38, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    LOL! i think it looks, BEE-YOO-TEE-FULL, sam! :)

  • At 2/8/05 09:00, Blogger *fanny* said…

    I'm french and love sorrel. My grandmother used to make a delicious sorrel and sour cream soup. I must ask her the recipe.
    Thanx for reminding my childhood.

  • At 2/8/05 09:06, Blogger eat stuff said…

    My mum has heaps of sorrel inher garden and struggles to find uses for all of it. I will tell her to make soup ;)

  • At 2/8/05 09:25, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That's shocking about Frascati. I mean, it's not, it's just sad that they don't care enough to educate their servers.

  • At 2/8/05 09:41, Blogger Farmgirl Susan said…

    Great post, as always. LOVE the title. Interesting soup. I've never had (or even seen, for that matter) sorrel, but there are plenty of wild green things growing around here. I could probably just substitue something else. Besides, will already have to come up with rural alternative to duck demi-glace anyway. : )

  • At 2/8/05 09:57, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's so interesting what kind of debunking you can do when the truth must come out!

    Frascati uses MASS produced duck? No wonder I've never had a good meal there!

  • At 2/8/05 11:07, Blogger Owen said…

    We have a big sorrel plant growing right outside the side door to the kitchen. It doesn't really quite like the California heat but has made it to where it keeps on a going happily.

    It is one of the local kids' favorite plants - they love the sour lemony flavor and all grab a leaf as they go past.

    I use it in salads, omelettes and yes, for soup. My infamous cream of arugula, sorrel and spinach soup with smoked oysters can be found here...


    I honestly think it is the best recipe I ever devised.

    Anyway, sorrel is really, really good and the soup sounds lovely - I'll have to make some soon.

  • At 2/8/05 16:21, Blogger Dive said…


    There are several flour mills within 100 miles.


    Unfortunately, they are owned by huge megalo-conglomerates such as General Mills and Cargill.

    However, they are local and employ local workers, even though there's no reason to believe the flour you buy in the store comes from the mills in Vallejo (or the gas you pump at the station come from Richmond).


  • At 3/8/05 06:15, Blogger Kevin said…


    I once spent 20 minutes talking with a chef at a B&B about ways to avoid that sludgy color in cooked sorrel. Sadly, neither of us had a solution.

    Two additional sorrel ideas, make a sorrel pesto for fish -- it's wonderful. And make chicken roulades stuffed with fresh sorrel and procsiutto.

  • At 3/8/05 07:16, Blogger admin said…

    It doesn't look very good, but I'll try it.

  • At 3/8/05 07:43, Blogger Sam said…

    Sarah - then you are prime material for marrying an ogre!

    Fanny - it would be great to see your grandmother's recipe.

    Clare - your mum is lucky - this stuff is $2 a bunch.

    Catherine - I know when I looked up Maple Farms on the internet I was quite surprised. But probably, customers don't ususally ask these kinds of questions and us such they probably don't think it is an issue.

    Farmgirl - you could easily substitute the duck for a good chicken or vegetable stock in this recipe,(Iwill add that to the recipe) but the sorrel is a vital ingredient. It has a unique flavour which is what makes the flavour. Maybe you could grow a little on your farm? It really is quite something.

    Fatemeh - intersting huh! They actual state it on the menu. "Maple Farms" sounds like a cute little farm and most people would think it was, I guess. Its interesting to do this research.

    Owen - I am jealous of your supply of sorrel and fruit trees, etc. And your recipe sounds divine. Too bad I can't get Fred to eat oysters!

    Bacon-Press - thanks for the info - somebody else found flour at Full Belly Farms which is just outside the 100 mile ring. I hope to check them out, but not til I've finished the 10lbs or so of King Arthur I already ad sitting in my pantry.

    Kevin - I love the idea of sorrel pesto. If only Fred would eat fish!
    Maybe a sorrel pesto pasta sauce?

    Pope thingummyjig - really it looks quite disgusting but I can attest for its heavenly taste.

  • At 3/8/05 18:17, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ho thanks!

    I just LOVE sorrel

    It's one of the parfumes of my childhood.
    And now I know where to find some for "madeleine de Proust " catering...

  • At 3/8/05 19:20, Blogger Sam said…

    Del - next time I make this - I plan for you to be at my house for dinner!
    I was thinking of you all the time I made it.

  • At 14/8/05 17:39, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    just wanted to let you know i tried this recipe of yours a few nights ago. it was the first time i've had sorrel outside of a restaurant. the soup was lovely. another plus was that it made the toasted pugliese that we dipped in it taste deliciously buttery.

  • At 14/8/05 20:30, Blogger Sam said…

    hi dexygus - so glad you tried it and liked it. Really what's not to like about a soup that is crammed full of fat and dairy but then disguises itself as something so green and healthy looking?!

    I am having a sorrel craze since discovering it!


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