I have a rather large patch of lovage growing in my garden at the moment. Unlike smaller and more delicate herbs, the lovage plant is much bigger and can often reach 6ft tall.
Lovage is largely a forgotten herb and was historically grown for medicinal and culinary purposes. I’ve never used lovage in my cooking before, but with an abundant crop this year I decided it was time to give it a try so I’m cooking an old fashioned recipe my grandmother used to make – lovage and potato soup.
In my opinion, lovage has a lovely scent. It has a strong celery smell and all the parts of the plant are edible. It also offers a host of health benefits too from easing digestion, supporting joint health by reducing rheumatic swelling of the joints and it also promotes healthy skin by fighting skin conditions including dermatitis. The list goes on……
Using lovage in this soup recipe is perfect as it enhances the flavour of the potatoes. This is a refreshing and pretty looking spring soup which you are guaranteed to enjoy. My boys had second helpings so it definitely past the taste test in this house.
Happy foraging and cooking.
NB: Lovage freezes well so it can be used all year round.
1. In a large pan, melt the butter and sauté the chopped onion followed by the potato and mix together well.
2. Add the stock and milk to the pan and bring to a simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add in the lovage and puree the soup with a hand blender. You may want to thin the soup out at this stage by adding in more stock depending on your preference.
3. Returning the pan to the heat, add salt and pepper to season and serve and garnish with some chopped lovage leaves.
I tried lovage for the first time a couple of years ago at a foraging event and loved it. Liek Gill said, it is quite an old fashioned herb now and the unusual flavour, which is bit like a mix of celery and aniseed, has been overtaken by fennel.
After a little scout round the internet I found out that Lovage was once used as an aphrodisiac and there was a popular alcoholic liqueur which was said to encourage women to love their husbands a litte more enthusiastically! You have been warned... the soup may have powers outwith our ken!
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Nicki XBy Nicola Martin