In the spring, our CSA brings us tender greens, young lettuces, small roots and huge bunches of herbs. As I picked through the farm's choices of herbs that week: angelica, rose geranium, wormwood and mountain mint, I found myself taken by lovage. Its clean and almost antiseptic scent and celery-like undertones appealed to me.
Not quite sure what I'd do with it - sure I paired its leaves with lentil soups before - but I wanted to reserve it for something special, a dish where it could shine on its own without simply being a seasoning for something else. I kept it in a mason jar filled with cold water, as I do all my big bunches of herbs.
Later that week, one of my son's friends came over to play. As his mother dropped him off, she exclaimed, "Is that lovage?"
She detailed her love for the herb, and how it's supposed to purify the blood (though most herbals indicate lovage is used for digestive issues, and there's some evidence that lovage - at least its oil - is potently anticarcinogenic). Before she left, she scrawled a quick recipe for me on a piece of stray paper. And this is Jill's recipe for lovage soup (with my addition of green onions as those, too, are plentiful in our CSA this time of year).
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 green onions (white and light green parts, chopped)
- 1 yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
- 2 quarts bone broth
- 3 medium Russet potatoes (peeled and chopped)
- 1 bunch 1 oz lovage leaves, (chopped fine)
- heavy cream (to serve)
- Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat. When it froths, reduce the heat to medium and stir in green and yellow onions. Fry until fragrant, about five minutes.
- Pour in chicken stock and stir in chopped potatoes. Simmer, covered, about thirty minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in lovage and simmer, covered, a further five or six minutes.
- Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with unrefined sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir in a spoonful of heavy cream and serve.