One of my favourite signs of spring is the appearance of spring vegetables and wild greens. My favourite of them all is stinging nettles.
It wasn’t always that way.
I dreaded them every time they came across my childhood dinner table on Vancouver Island. Kids hate green stuff, especially when it stings their legs during their forest adventures.
Nettles have since come to represent the best my childhood home had to offer. They also bring me a palpable feeling of spring, which is why I cheated and got my first batch of nettles from California last month. (Patience has never been one of my virtues.) The local BC crop won’t be available for another month or two and I don’t know when you poor Easterners can expect yours. May? June? Wrap up warm, now!
At Mamie Taylor’s I use stinging nettles to make our extremely popular Stinging Nettle Perogies. A delicious comfort-food dish perfect for cold, wet West Coast winters that nevertheless holds the promise of spring.
Here’s my recipe. Enjoy!
- 5 cups flour
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup sour cream
- Tsp salt
- 1 cup blanched and cleaned stinging nettles,
- (approximately 1 lb raw)
- 1 cup ricotta
- 4 oz swiss cheese,grated
- 1.5 oz parmesan, grated
- 1 large potato baked
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ onion minced
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- 4 oz oyster mushrooms
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms
- 4 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ Lemon
- 2 tbsp veg oil
- 3 large onions sliced
- 1 cup sour cream
- Tbsp. salt
- Combine all the dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients. Mix them together until a dough forms. Kneed for two to three minutes.
- Let rest for 1 hour.
- Sweat the onions in the butter and set aside. Scoop the soft baked potato flesh out of the skin into bowl and add the onions and the butter and mix until the potato is more or less the consistency of mashed potatoes. Finely chop the cooked nettles. Add the nettles, cheeses and seasoning to the potato mixture and set aside.
- Thinly slice onions and cook with the oil and the salt in a covered pot over medium heat for about 1 hour or until they are very soft and very sweet but without letting them get brown. Add the sour cream and puree with a hand blender or with a food processor.
- Fill a large pot with water and place on high heat to boil. Roll out the the dough on a floured surface to 2 mm thickness. Cut into 3 inch circles using a ring cutter or a small plate and a knife. Egg wash 1 side of the dough round and place 1 large Tbsp. of filling in the middle. Fold over the dough and press together using your finger tips. Boil the perogies for about 3 minutes and strain. Set aside.
- In a frying pan, saute the mushrooms in the butter. Add the garlic and some salt and sweat for another two minutes. Add the tomatoes, tarragon and a good squeeze of lemon juice.
- Heat a large saute pan and fry the perogies in vegetable oil until golden brown.
- Spread the onion puree out on a plate. Scatter some of the sauted mushrooms on top of the puree and and top with the golden fried pierogies.
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