My first job beyond babysitting was at 12 years old at a print shop in San Francisco, HJ Carl & Sons, on Capp St. We constructed and deconstructed hug metal print plates of recipes for local restaurants, flyers, and posters every Saturday. Lunch was delivered warm from Jack’s restaurant, and every week we had creamy rich yet light lemony sorrel soup. I have tried to recreate it many a time, and I finally came close to duplicating it.
Sorrel is a weed, as sheep sorrel, growing abundant right now and in perfect harmony with Chinese elemental correspondences, of Spring-Liver-sour flavor. You can find patches where it is big leaved…the Broad St Cemetery is a great place. You may have it growing in your yard! I harvested sorrel from my dear friend Liz’s garden.
Sorrel is high in vitamin C, antioxidants. Its sour flavor astringes fluids, the fluids, yin, water that we store up from the wet moist winters. We store our yin, so that we have enough to keep us from overheating through the spring and summer. Too much sour can dry out the ligaments and tendons, so check your sour cravings.
In western herbalism, bitter is the flavor associated with the Liver. Bitter in Chinese medicine corresponds to the heart. And it is important to keep the heart cool and drained for liver health, but some people cannot tolerate bitter, for it cools and drains too much, when they are in need of nourishing to their Liver.
There is a buzz of concern about oxalic acids being a health hazard, for they leach calcium from the bones. Oxalic acid is neutralized by lemon juice or a little apple cider vinegar, and it is important to always combine your sorrel, spinach, or chard (other greens containing oxalics) with a fat and protein. This soup is the perfect whole meal, yet light enough to give your digestive system a rest after the richer winter diet.
1/2 yellow onion sauteed in 2 Tbsp butter
Add in 2-3 cups washed chopped sorrel
Sauteed in 3-5Tbsp butter. When they are wilted, add:
5 cups stock, best is chicken I made it with beef. Remove from heat and add a small amount of the soup to:
1/2 c cream and 3 beaten egg yolks. Then combine all ingredients and heat until the soup thickens slightly, but do not boil. I pureed my soup, for that was how I had it at Mr. Carl’s.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
My Lithuanian friend Aruna grew up growing rows and rows of sorrel, and eating sorrel soup all the time in the spring. Her family did not blend it, and they added meatballs sometimes.
I encourage you to explore the wonders of easy to grow and abundant wild foods to support your health and vitality. Our wild greens have a greater mineral value and life force for they thrive and adapt without our care. Bon appetite!