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You can buy new-season nettles (and green garlic) from Petersons at the farmers' market - or go foraging for your own. They can't sting you once they're cooked. Serves 3-4
1 tbs butter or veg oil
1 small leek, finely chopped
2-3 stalks green garlic, finely sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 litre vegetable stock
1 bunch nettles, approx 250g
Salt and pepper to taste
Creme fraiche to serve (optional)
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until foamy (or heat the oil). Add leeks and green garlic, and saute for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add potato and stock and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until potato is tender.
Put on gloves! Remove the nettle leaves from the stem and rinse to clean. Bring a pot of water to the boil, drop the nettle leaves in and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and quickly put the nettles into a bowl of cold water for 30 seconds. Remove and drain again.
When the soup is ready, add the nettle leaves and warm through for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like, swirl in a spoonful of creme fraiche before serving.