About this time last year, fellow Essex food blogger, and all round good guy Food Urchin was kind enough to supply me with some wild garlic from the abundant supply he has growing in his garden.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to actually use it in any cooking. It was the end of the wild garlic season, the plant was small – the few leaves soon shrivelled, and died…the whole thing looked decidedly unhealthy. Unsure at the time whether my gardening ‘touch of death’ was at work, once again, or whether this was just the natural order of things…. I planted what was left, crossed my fingers and tried to forget about it.
Fast forward nearly a year, and spring has sprung, dormant plant life in my garden has burst into bud, blossom beautifully framed by cloudless blue skies is apparent everywhere, birds sing, fox’s play, baby lambs bleat… you get the picture, and best of all – what’s this? My ‘dead’ Wild Garlic has seemingly overnight, grown into a fine looking shrub with an abundance of pungent, beautiful, lush, verdant leaves draped seductively against each other.
With not a moment to lose, and determined to get as much use out of it as possible, I’ve been snipping bits off here and there…. Wild Garlic Mayonnaise as a dip for last weeks Scotch Eggs, Wild Garlic stirred through scrambled eggs for a breakfast, but still I feel like I’m not getting enough out of it, so yesterday I decided to go for broke – strip all of the decent size leaves, and make some Wild Garlic Soup.
A quick search threw up a Tom Norrington-Davies (recipe HERE), which appealed to me (I really have a thing about potatoes in soup – no idea why, but I love them, might be a childhood thing – oxtail soup with boiled potatoes conjuring up fond memories). In no time at all, I had a large heap of wild garlic leaves sitting on the kitchen worktop, and the other ingredients were assembled, ready to go.
Luckily, I had some beautiful homemade stock in the freezer – (seriously, when you next have roast chicken DO make stock from the leftover carcass, it may seem like a pain in the arse at the time (it’s not) – but you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts later). The kitchen was soon awash with the fresh pungent aroma of wild garlic and the gorgeous comforting smell of hot chicken stock.
I served the soup steaming hot with crusty bread from the local bakers, (just for that extra carb overload) and it was delicious. The wild garlic’s very distinctive but subtle taste was complimented nicely by the onions, and the roughly pulped potato and bread added a nice thick rustic texture – the addition of some crumbled dry chilli giving a nice little kick. Lovely stuff, and very simple to make.
I have to add; there is something incredibly exciting about cooking with produce grown in your own garden, especially so with an ingredient like Wild Garlic – which has quite a short season, and is, as its name suggests, a wild plant. It grows all over the place in woodland apparently, but whenever I’ve looked for it – I can never bloody find any. If you can lay your hands on the stuff, either through foraging (with better luck than mine), or perhaps getting some to plant in your garden then do, it’s very rewarding to cook with.