In French, sorrel is oseille in use since the late nineteenth century. Sorrel is well known for the grateful acidity of its herbage, which is most marked when the plant is in full season. The plant is also called ‘Cuckoo’s-meate’ from an old belief that the bird cleared its voice by its agency. In Scotland it is ‘gowkemeat. The leaves contain a considerable quantity of binoxalate of potash, which gives them their acid flavor, medicinal and dietetic properties. Sorrel has been employed from the most distant time as a salad herb…
History of French Sorrel
In the time of Henry VIII, sorrel was held in great repute in England. The introduction of French Sorrel, with its large succulent leaves, replaced its position as a salad and a potherb. John Evelyn thought that Sorrel imparted ‘so grateful a quickness to the salad that it should never be left out.’ He wrote in 1720: …”Together with salt, it gives both the name and the relish to sallets from the sapidity, which renders not plants and herbs only, but men themselves pleasant and agreeable.” Culpepper wrote: ‘Sorrel is prevalent in all hot diseases, to cool any inflammation and heat of blood in agues pestilential or choleric, or sickness or fainting, arising from heat, and to refresh the overspent spirits with the violence of furious or fiery fits of agues: to quench thirst, and procure an appetite in fainting or decaying stomachs: For it resists the putrefaction of the blood, kills worms, and is a cordial to the heart…”
Wellness Uses of French Sorrel
Some of the health benefits of sorrel include its ability to boost eyesight, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, build strong bones, increase circulation, increase energy levels, help prevent cancer, reduce certain skin conditions, lower blood pressure, increase appetite, slow the aging process, protect against diabetes, strengthen heart health, and improve kidney
Culinary Uses of French Sorrel
Sorrel is a fascinating perennial herb that is used all around the world and is cultivated for a wide variety of uses. Although it is primarily grown for use in food, due to its sharp, tangy taste. In France, Sorrel is put into ragouts, fricassées and soups, forming the chief constituent of the favourite Soupe aux herbes.Here’s a traditional soup made with Sorrel.
Soup of Fresh Shelling Beans and Sorrel
About 1 lb. fresh shelling beans 1 bunch sorrel leaves, stems discarded
Salt and pepper Olive oil
Half an onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic
Sweat onion and garlic in a couple glugs of olive oil until translucent but not brown. Add shelling beans and several cups of water, and boil till almost soft enough. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped sorrel leaves and boil 3 more minutes. Taste the broth, not the beans, for seasoning: add more salt, pepper, or a squeeze or lemon juice or white wine if necessary. Serve hot.
Here’s some more recipe ideas for French Sorrel…
– Salmon with sorrel, a legendary dish originally invented by the Troisgros brothers in Roanne in 1973
– Chop sorrell into a butter sauce to go with salmon fishcakes.
– Pair with salmon, mustard seeds and raspberries.
– Hot sorrel soup, with leeks, dill and sour cream
– Green borsch
– Chilled sorrel soup with plain yogurt and lemon (a.k.a. schav in Yiddish)
– Lightly sauté in butter with shallots, deglaze with sherry, then mix all with goat cheese and use as an omelet filling.
– Chicken and sorrel sandwich with fresh mayonnaise
– Toss into mixed-leaf salads, with a relatively sweet dressing, and optional goat cheese crumbled on top.
– Chopped sorrel with black beans or lentils for a cold salad
– Warm potato and salmon salad with sorrel vinaigrette
– A salad of white peaches and sorrel
– Rice with sorrel and lemon, served as a side to fish
– Chop with an onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté lightly in butter and stuff a chicken.
– Fried beans with sorrel, feta and sumac from the second Ottolenghi book, Plenty
– Add to spanakopita.
– Sauté briefly in olive oil and mix with almond butter and salt, to accompany mushrooms (crisp bacon optional).
– Sorrel spinach pesto with pumpkin seeds
– Sprinkle sorrel, chiffonaded or gently melted into frying butter, on fresh pasta. Grate a little lemon zest on top.
– Toss some penne with sorrel, red onion, mint and garlic.
French Sorrel is a little known herbs big possibilities!