Sorrel is in abundance in my garden, in fact, all the herbs are so lush this year, the combination of rain, sun and warmth has worked its magic and the pots are overflowing. Sometimes known as “Spinach Dock”, Sorrel is an ancient herb native to this country, with a range of historic medicinal uses, but it is hard to find many recipes that embrace it. It is a sour herb, it is true, and probably a bit of an acquired taste, it should not be eaten to excess, and it is really only the small and tender green leaves that are digestable, once the red tinges appear on the leaves and stalks, it is time to admire if from afar. Sorrel is used in Eastern European and Russian kitchens much more frequently, here it seems a little neglected.
With so much flourishing in my garden, I set about combining it with some smoked streaky bacon, and wonderful sharp and creamy Colston Bassett Stilton to create these tasty little tarts. The local fox has recently dispatched two of my hens but we still have enough beautiful fresh eggs to justify this rich and satisfying treat. The recipe is below, I made it up as I went along a bit, but it is so simple you can’t really go wrong. Grab some Sorrel, it has been too long forgotten!
For the Pastry (I use a bit of Delia here):- 220g Plain Flour, 50g Lard, 50g Butter, A pinch of Salt
For the Filling (and I didn’t measure these well!):- 4 eggs, Approx 120g Smoked Streaky Bacon, approx 15ml full fat milk (and I added a dash of single cream too), 125g of proper Stilton Cheese, Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Sea Salt, a handful of small, green Sorrel Leaves (not stalks), to taste
To make the pastry add flour and salt to a bowl and mix in the fats either with your fingers or a mixer until you have fine crumbs. Gradually mix in small amount of cold water until you get a smooth dough. Knead lightly and then rest it for half an hour in the fridge. Roll out to approx 3mm thickness then line your small tart tins (with a loose bottom – the tins, not you), prick the base and blind bake for about 15 mins. Allow to cool.
Fry off the bacon and snip or crumble into small pieces, using the same pan either off or on very low heat, wilt the sorrel leaves. Beat the eggs and milk (+cream if using) together and season well. Place some bacon, a couple of sorrel leaves and crumbles of Stilton into each pastry case and then poor over the egg and milk mix and bake for about 20 mins until risen, set and just browned. Savour.