Sorrel (SOR uhl) is a delicate salad green with smooth, arrow-shaped, bright green leaves. It has a sharp, lemon tanginess and spinach like flavor can be used in salads or cooked as flavoring for soups. The word "sorrel" comes from a general Germanic root meaning sour. The plant has been cultivated for centuries and grows abundantly in most of Europe and is grown as a leaf vegetable. Although its popularity has decreased considerably over time it is quite available year-round here in the U.S. It is funny that the sorrel consumption is quite low considering its health values. When you buy it, look for bright green leaves with no signs of yellowing. It can be stored by rinsing in cold water, pat dry and place in a plastic bag lined with paper towel and store refrigerated up to 3 days.
- MINESTRA DI PISELLI SPACCATA CON ACETOSA
- 1/2 stick of butter
- Some good olive oil
- 2 med Onions roughly diced
- One whole onion, skin on, quartered 1/2 way through for stock pot
- 1 Carrot roughly diced
- 1 whole carrot for pot
- 2-3 inches of the top of a celery bunch diced in including leafs
- 2 whole celery stalks for pot
- 2 Finely minced fresh garlic
- 2 cups Dry split peas
- 2 Qts. of chicken stock
- Half of a fresh cooked left over ham with plenty of meat left on it or a small one.
- 2-3 slices of diced pancetta or salt pork
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- 3 bunches of fresh sorrel
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- A pinch of nutmeg
- Lemon, cut in half
In a sauté pan on med. heat, add the butter and some oil and melt the butter without it getting brown so watch it and adjust accordingly. Add the pancetta, the diced onions, celery and carrots, S & P to taste, crank heat to med. / high and sauté until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, toss well for 15 - 20 seconds and remove from hot burner. In a stock pot, add the ham, the whole onion, carrot, the 2 celery stalks and the chicken stock. Add enough stock to just cover; if short just add some water. Bring to a boil on high heat then lower to med. cook for an hour or more until the meat is starting to break apart and almost falling of the bone. Remove the ham, from the pan and let cool enough to handle. As soon as you remove the ham, strain the liquid into a large bowl or another stock pot squeezing as much as you can from the vegetables then toss them out. Rinse pan slightly and return stock to burner to a boil. Add the split peas, the lemon and bring back to boil temp. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the peas are completely soft. During the last 5 minutes or so remove the lemon and add the sorrel then remove from burner.
Now that the ham has cooled down, remove all the meat from the bone and cut to small bite size pieces. Now toss the bone to your dog that has been hanging around watching you and waiting for a hand-out. Transfer the cooked peas to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return the processed peas to the pot, add the chopped meat, the sautéed vegetables and bring to a low boil on med. / high heat. Add a pinch of nutmeg and start drizzling in the cream while stirring well and let thicken. The cream will thicken it just so much so if you like it thicker, use a little flour or cornstarch and water mixture to help it along. In the restaurant we use what is called a roux to thicken soup, stocks or sauces. ( see below ).
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