Hogweed spiced sweet potato soup.

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The orangey citrus aroma of roasted  Hogweed seeds works incredibly well with root vegetables and this recipe uses them to spice up a delicious warming soup, perfect for the chilly days of Autumn

Hogweed spiced sweet potato soup  serves 4

Ingredients
2 large Sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 Tsp Chilli flakes
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
2 Tsp Hogweed seeds, dry roasted in a pan and ground finely
Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

Method

Put a large pan over a medium heat, add the oil, then the spices and sizzle for a few seconds.  Now add the onion and sweet potatoes and cook for ten to fifteen minutes until bits of the vegetables are starting to caramalise.

Pour in enough stock to just cover your vegetables and cook until the sweet potatoes are soft.  Puree the soup with a hand blender, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or yoghurt. If your soup is a little thick add a little more hot stock before serving.

Common Hogweed  Heracleum sphodylium

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This biennial plant flowers from June to August, it can reach 2m tall. It has hairy stems and leaves. The stems are hollow and grooved and usually have greyish purple tints. The leaves are very large at the base of the plant becoming smaller up the flowering stalk. Each leaf is made up of, usually 5, leaflets these have a coarsely toothed wavy edge making the leaflet look irregular. The flower buds appear encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 20cm across.

The brown seed heads are what we are using in this recipe, each individual seed is flat and plate like (see photo above) and they have a heady scent of orange citrus with a hint of cardamom.  Use this scent to help with identification.

hogweed seeds (2)

Please be sure of your identification before handling the plant as the much larger Giant Hogweed heracleum mantegazzianum causes burns through phototoxicity and is not Edible!!!

Sweet pickled wild vegetables.

We served this last weekend with smoked beetroot, curd cheese and potato bread.
It makes a delicious light lunch served like this but it would be equally good with a succulent piece of fish.

Great flavours and colours.

Give it a go.

Vegy weekend May 15 022

Sweet pickled wild vegetables

For the pickling liquor
Cider vinegar (I like Aspall’s organic)
sugar
water

To make the liquor warm 1 part vinegar, 2 parts sugar and 3 parts water in a pan until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring all the time.  Once you have a clear liquid set it aside to cool a bit.

For the vegetables

Most recently we used a mix of Thistle stems, Ground Elder leaf stems and Hogweed buds (plus a few ‘un wild’ sliced radishes).

Blanch the veg (apart from the radish) in boiling water for 40 seconds then immediately refresh in very cold water. Once cool, drain thoroughly.

About 1 hour before serving, put the veg into a bowl and pour over the pickling liquor.

Allow to marinate and serve.

Vegetarian weekend May 15 027

Smoked beetroot, sweet pickled wild veg, curd cheese, vetch shoot and sorrel salad with potato bread.

 

 

Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium

hogweed

 
This biennial/perennial plant flowers from June to August, it can reach 2m tall. It has hairy stems and leaves. The stems are hollow and grooved and usually have greyish purple tints. The leaves are very large at the base of the plant becoming smaller up the flowering stalk. Each leaf is made up of, usually 5, leaflets these have a coarsely toothed wavy edge making the leaflet look irregular. The flower buds appear encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 10-20cm across.

Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria

ground elder

A perennial plant that can spread to form dense patches. The leaves grow to approximately 30cm tall, the flowering stalks to 70cm. The leaves grow straight out of the ground in early spring. They have a grooved stalk which divides into 3 and each of these 3 stalks has 3 leaves on it. These oval leaves have a serrated edge and a pointed end. There are also smaller leaves with fewer leaflets. In early summer the plant sends up a grooved flowering stem. This branches and has umbrellas of white flowers (sometimes pinkish) which smell a bit like celery.

 

There are few photos below from our Vegetarian wildfood weekend. Next date for this course has just been released.

 

 

Autumn hedgerow spices make a warming soup extra special

We have made this soup on recent foraging courses in our wood and chef Chris Parry adapted it for our recent ‘foragers supper’ at the Exeter Arms in Derby  The recipe is here along with photos from the event in Derby and the recent vegetarian wild food weekend course.

Hogweed spiced sweet potato soup – serves 4

  • 1 onion skinned and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g sweet potato peeled cut in to chunks
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp Hogweed seeds roasted and ground (identification notes below)
  • Flaky sea salt
  • 1litre vegetable stock
  • Ground black pepper
  • Double cream (optional)

First roast the Hogweed seeds, to do this remove them from the stalks and measure out 1 tablespoon, put them into a heavy based frying pan and cook for a few minutes, moving them around so that they toast on both sides. A lovely orangey, cardamom like fragrance will come from the seeds as they toast – be careful they don’t burn. Once roasted grind them up in a pestle and mortar with a teaspoon of flaky sea salt.

 

vegy WF weekend Sept 14 107Meanwhile in a large saucepan, cook the onions slowly in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft, then add the ground Hogweed and salt mix and stir to coat the spices. Now add the butter and sweet potato and stir well, cook for a few minutes stirring occasionally. Add the stock and leave to simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft. Puree the soup with a stick blender, add pepper to taste and salt if necessary. Re-heat the soup and add a couple of spoonfuls of cream if you want a little luxury.

 

Chris Parry chef at the Exeter Arms swirled chorizo oil through his version of the soup.

Hogweed  – Heraclum sphodylium

hogweed seeds (2)

This perennial plant flowers from June to August, growing to 2m tall. It has hairy stems and leaves. The stems are hollow and grooved and usually have greyish purple tints. The leaves are very large at the base of the plant becoming smaller up the flowering stem. Each leaf is made up of usually 5 leaflets these have a coarsely toothed wavy edge making the leaflet look irregular. The flower buds appear in June encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 20cm across from June onwards. The seeds follow first as green discs which then dry out to form brown seeds as in the photo. Look carefully at the leaf shape to confirm your identification and check that the seed has a citrus, cardamom like scent.

Be sure of your identification. Hogweed is part of the umbelliferae family whose members can be tricky to identify, it does contain poisonous species so be careful. We recommend that you check your identification in a few different plant books or ideally come on a foraging course.

Urban foraging in Derby with the Exeter arms.

 

 

Vegetarian weekend course September 2014