Let’s embark on a culinary journey to Bulgaria with a recipe for a classic comfort dish – “Bulgarian Nettle and Rice Soup”.
Preparation Time: Approximately 50 minutes
Ingredients (Serves Four)
- Fresh nettle leaves: 200 grams
- Short grain rice: 100 grams
- Onion (finely chopped): 1
- Garlic cloves (minced): 2
- Olive oil: 2 tablespoon
- Vegetable broth: 1.5 liters
- Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Yogurt and fresh dill (chopped) for garnish (option 1)
- White cheese (option 2)
Method to Prepare
- Begin by carefully washing the nettle leaves (use gloves to avoid getting stung). Drain them and set aside.
- Heat up the olive oil in your soup pot over medium heat. Toss in the onion and sauté until it’s softened and translucent.
- Stir in the minced garlic, and let the aroma fill your kitchen.
- Add the nettles to the pot, allowing them to wilt down.
- Time for the rice to join the party. Stir it in and let it get coated in the olive oil and flavors.
- Pour the vegetable broth, and let everything simmer for around 30 minutes. Your goal is tender rice and nettles.
- Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper as the final touch. Stir well.
- Ladle your soup into bowls, add a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle some fresh dill before serving (option 1)
- Ladle your soup into bowls, add a dollop of yogurt, and add white cheese (option 2).
A Few Tips and Tricks
- Be careful while handling nettle leaves, as they can sting. Wearing gloves can be a good idea.
- You can replace fresh nettle with spinach if nettles are not in season or not available.
Alternatives for a Twist
- Add some chopped chili pepper with the onion if you like a bit of heat.
- For a creamier soup, blend half the soup until smooth and mix it back in.
This soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The soup can thicken upon cooling, so when reheating, you may want to add a splash of broth or water to get your preferred consistency.