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
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
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
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
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.
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!!!