This recipe is from Penny O’Regan, using a few simple ingredients and helping us celebrate the amazing taste of wild garlic (and see the Comments below for Delyth Rennie’s vegan version). Wild garlic (allium ursinum), or ramsons, grows in lots of wooded, damp spots around Swaledale. Most recipes use the leaves, though the flowers are edible too, and look pretty as garnishes. Wild garlic makes great additions to salads, and amazing home-made pesto.
Try to pick from where dogs are unlikely to pee on it, and remember to wash it! As with all foraged foods, don’t pick the whole plant, and leave plenty for other people. It reproduces by seed, so leave plenty of flowers so plants can thrive for next year.
*Confusion species – make sure you are certain it is wild garlic, and not one of several other species (one of which is poisonous). See this article from the Hedgerow Harvest website for more info.
Every time Penny makes this soup, it reminds her of two close friends. Penny says: “I moved from Wetherby to Reeth last year and I have left behind two very good friends, Mel who is around my age and Helen who is old enough to be our mother. Mel’s mum was diagnosed with cancer about three weeks ago and died very quickly last week. What with social distancing I have not been able to see Mel or give her a hug, but Helen lives a couple of doors away from her and has been popping round with this wild garlic soup. I know it has been a comfort to Mel in a dark time for her. This soup will always remind me of Helen and how kind and loving she is.”
- 60g wild garlic
- 500ml fresh whole milk
- 50g butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 200g potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 100ml crème fraîche, for serving.
Blanche the garlic leaves in boiling water for 5 seconds then rinse in cold water.
Drain and set aside. Bring the milk to the boil, remove from heat and add the wild garlic and leave to infuse.
Sweat the onions, garlic and potato with the butter for about 10 minutes, add the salt and some pepper.
Add the milk and wild garlic and cook until the potatoes are soft – about 20 minutes.
Puree and season with more salt and pepper if needed and serve with the crème fraîche.
(This recipe can be frozen – if so, reheat and add the crème fraîche before serving).