Just imagine you’re on the banks of the Danube when you make Trish Maccurrach’s fish soup. And make the most of British wild food with an easy nettle soup.
Trish, who runs the Outdoor Kitchen, makes her soups in a big kotlich pot over a campfire, but you can always adapt to whatever cooking method you prefer. You can find out more about kotlich cooking here.
Riblja cobra (fish soup)
Our recipes are usually written for two (so that you can multiply as needed). Kotlich cooking, though, is really best for a crowd of friends or a family meal, so the recipes below serve up to six.
- Special seasoning – powdered sweet paprika, mild curry powder, chilli powder, chopped celeriac leaves and root (you could use lovage or celery salt too), mixed herbs and dill. If you want to cheat, Trish says you can find a ready-mixed seasoning in central European shops
- First light your fire and set up the tripod. Put some oil in the Kotlich and place over the fire
- Fry onion in oil – 1 large onion per kilo of fish
- Add plenty of green peppers chopped
- Add a small amount of water to cover peppers and simmer for 5-10 minutes
- Add fish, around 250g per person, cut into joints and cover with water. Any fish is good, but traditionally it would be river fish.
- Add 1-2 green peppers whole.
- Add plenty of tomatoes
- Cook slowly for 30-40 mins
- Half way through this process add your spice mix and, at the end, a good amount of sweet crushed pepper.
- If it’s not thick enough, thicken with cornflour.
Nettle soup has a very subtle flavour. To keep the deep green colour, it’s important not to overcook it. If you’re kotlich cooking at home, it’s nice to blend this soup till smooth. If you’re out in the wilds, then just chop up your ingredients very finely and enjoy a more bitty, but still delicious, version.
- Gather your nettles with scissors and rubber gloves. Choose only the tops of young nettles. Pack them down until they fill a big mixing bowl.
- Put the Kotlich over the fire with some oil and gently fry 4 cloves of garlic, 2 medium onions and two chopped medium potatoes.
- When the onions are soft, cover with stock and simmer till the potatoes are tender. Stir regularly.
- Add the rinsed nettles, a couple of bay leaves and more liquid to cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves. Whizz till smooth (if you’re using a hand-blender)
- Decorate the bowls with a swirl of sour cream and flowers.
Recommended reading for foragers and lovers of wild food