Known as shav or green borscht, it's delicious both hot or cold. One might say it's the original cleansing dietary staple. My great grandmother had it down - cold shav with a dollop of sour cream, a hearty black bread and afterward a few good games of canasta. Contrary to what you might think, eating sorrel isn't just for foodies. This is a peasant food - it should be accessible, affordable and simple to prepare. If you can't find sorrel you can substitute dandelion greens, they are more bitter than sour but another great green to support your liver health. To my great delight I found sorrel condensed to a pesto consistency in a Russian specialty store a block from my house. I combine the condensed sorrel to taste (about 4 tablespoons) with dandelion greens ( if I can't find fresh sorrel ) for a soup that tastes just like my great grandmother's. I remember Bubbi picking the weeds off our lawn after she had sold the farm. We had weeds, not pesticides.
How does this tie into Chinese medicine?
In Chinese medicine dietary theory, sour is the flavor of the liver. If you've gone to an acupuncturist complaining about how stressed and on edge you feel, you've probably gotten a little lecture about your liver qi being stagnant. Stress, lack of exercise, a fatty, greasy diet, drugs and alcohol can all contribute to liver qi stagnation. What does liver qi stagnation feel like? Have you ever heard the expression - "Don't get your panties in a bundle", that's a pretty good description. Irritability, frustration, anger, depression, a feeling of constriction in your ribs or chest, belching, migraines, pms cramps, breast distention - these are some symptoms associated with stagnant liver qi.
Adding bitter/sour greens to your diet are a great addition to your holistic health care arsenal. Including any of these greens daily will be a great start building liver blood and smoothing your liver qi. The bitter flavor in these foods actually "detoxifies" your liver by increasing bile flow, while the greens themselves flush out toxins.
So take a break from your daily $9 juice, make yourself a big batch of sorrel soup and enjoy.
To your health!
I tweak the classic recipe by omitting the eggs, replacing butter with olive oil, using vegetable stock instead of chicken and adding baby potatoes. All of these amounts should be altered according to your taste.
1 pound young sorrel leaves, washed, stemmed & chopped (if you can't find sorrel substitute dandelion greens and try to get the sorrel pesto)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
1 large minced onion
6 cups water or chicken stock ( I use 1/2 vegetable stock and 1/2 water )
1 teaspon kosher salt or to taste
2 tablespoons sugar (I omit the sugar)
Juice of 1 lemon
Baby potatoes cut into 4-6 chunks each
In a large saucepan, melt butter or oil and sauté sorrel (or dandelion greens) and onions for about 10 minutes or until greens are wilted and onions are translucent. Add water and/or stock and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in sugar and lemon juice a little at a time, tasting after each addition of lemon juice, until desired tartness is achieved.
Serve hot or cold with a dollop of sour cream.