Sunday, March 11, 2012

Try some Clover Leaf Soup

Written by: Jenny Faith Mansell
Since it is March and St. Patrick's Day is coming up it only seems appropriate to feature clover leaf soup. Not only does it include clover leaves, it has Irish oats as well!

Clover Leaf Soup

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1-1 1/2 cups cooked Irish (steel cut) oats
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups clover leaves, stemmed and washed
1-2 teaspoons onion powder
2 garlic cloves, peeled and mashed
1-2 teaspoons thyme
a dash of ground pepper
1-2 teaspoons chickweed vinegar, optional

   Place chicken broth, mushrooms, oats and salt in saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat, add clover leaves and simmer about ten minutes or until clover is wilted and mushrooms are getting soft. Add garlic, pepper and thyme and cook about five more minutes. Add chickweed vinegar and stir. Serve with tortillas, pita bread or slices of crusty homemade sourdough bread. Serves 4.

This soup is thrifty in two ways---it uses up leftover oats and broth from stewing chicken and it uses "weeds" which would otherwise go to waste. Most of the ingredients have a range because I don't cook with exactitude. You can adjust the flavors to suit your family's tastes.

Clover leaves and flowers have traditionally been considered a "blood purifier" and are used by herbalists to strengthen the respiratory system and remove toxins from the body. This soup is a good way to "eat your medicine."

Caution: As always when wild-crafting herbs, make sure you properly identify the plant you are gathering. Ideally, have an expert identify the plant for you or at the very least, use three reputable sources such as field guide books to help you identify the plant. Do not gather if you are unsure whether the area has been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals or where the ground might be contaminated by old paint or in places where animals frequent.

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