This is a simple recipe, and can be made quickly with few ingredients. My favorite dishes are usually some sort of simple country style food, preferably with ingredients right out of the garden or some weedy delights harvested from the dooryard or otherwise nearby. I often term these favorite dishes as Woodland Foods, probably heavily influenced by reading the Redwall series and other fairy tale and fantasy style stories since early childhood.
I’m not sure why Rumex obtusifolius has become commonly known as Bitter Dock, since the leaves are more tender and palatable than Yellow Dock, R. crispus, in every comparison I’ve ever tried, and not the least bit bitter. In fact, I find R. obtusifolius superior as a food plant in almost all ways. Not least because of the mildly tart flavor and crisp tenderness of the texture. Thus, I very much prefer another common name for this feral green: Butter Dock.
I consider this species a mild, and much more locally abundant, substitute for Sheep Sorrel (the closely related Rumex acetosella), and use it in place of Sorrel in many recipes. This particular soup is a good example of that, being quite similar to many traditional European recipes for Sorrel Soups. Butter Dock can also be added to any number of soups, being mild, lemony, and altogether pleasant, especially when you gather the young, well-watered leaves. You can certainly substitute any Sorrel or R. crispus in this recipe if that’s what you have on hand!
•4 oz ground lamb
•1 large Shallot, diced
•Thyme, Sage (I used Black Sage, Salvia mellifera, but Garden Sage works nicely too), Dillweed, Epazote or other preferred/available spices.
•4 C water or broth
•2 medium potatoes, diced
•2 tsp salt
•1 tb Potato starch
•2 tb cold water
•2 tb cream (or half and half)
•Pepper to taste
•Handful of wild onion greens (and flowers, if you have them), chopped (optional)
•1 tb prepared or creamy Horseradish (optional)
•1 packed C young Dock leaves, chopped roughly into ribbons
- Brown the ground lamb and Shallot in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat
- Add Thyme, Sage, Dill, Epazote
- Pour in water or broth, then add Potatoes
- Boil for 15 minutes or until Potatoes are tender
- Stir Potato starch into cold water with fork until lumps are gone, then add cream
- Reduce heat to low, then pour in Potato starch & cream mixture
- Barely bring to boil while stirring, then lower heat back to a simmer or below
- Add Salt, Pepper, and prepared Horseradish to taste
- Sprinkle handful (or as desired) chopped Wild Onion greens/flowers over the top of the soup
- Add dock leaves.
- After a minute or two, Dock leaves will turn from bright green to olive, turn off heat.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and/or crumbles of a favorite cheese.
I’d also recommend serving alongside a well buttered baguette or thick slice of homemade Sesame-encrusted French bread