The wild garlic and ground elder are still looking and tasting great and we are making the most of them whilst they are at their best.
Ground elder – These days most gardeners don’t like it as it is very difficult to get rid of but it was introduced to Britain as an edible plant. It is a perennial plant that can form dense patches, usually found near habitation, in gardens or woods. The leaves grow straight out of the ground in early spring reaching approximately 30cm tall. They have a grooved stalk which divides into 3 and each of these 3 stalks has 3 leaves on it. The leaves have a serrated edge and a pointed end. Only eat Ground elder in spring before the plant flowers. As always – be absolutely sure of your identification. If in doubt go to the shop and buy some parsley and some spinach, it won’t be quite the same but it will be nice.
Recipe – serves 3
Ground elder is great with a good sauce and this curry proves the point. The textures and flavours here combine to make a creamy, earthy curry that is great as a vegetarian main course or side dish.
- 175g green lentils
- 25g butter
- 1tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 1 medium chilli, deseeded and chopped small
- 2cm piece of root ginger peeled and coarsely grated
- 6 wild garlic leaves with stalks coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 300g ground elder, washed and chopped
- 100ml double cream
- Salt and pepper
- Wild garlic flowers (optional)
Boil the green lentils for 10 minutes in unsalted water, then simmer until tender (approx 30 mins). Meanwhile melt the butter and oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion until soft but not coloured. Add the chilli and ginger and fry for a minute, now add the coriander, cumin and turmeric and cook for another minute or two. When the spices are cooked through add the wild garlic and stir to coat in the spice and onion mix. Now add the ground elder and mix well, the cream goes in next and the drained lentils as soon as they are cooked. Cook gently for 10 minutes to combine the flavours adjusting the liquid if necessary, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with flat breads or rice.
On our day course last weekend we served the curry with flatbreads from the earth oven and dandelion bhajis with a wild garlic raita.