I thought I knew a lot about making soup. Been doing it for years. But last evening after dinner I learned a new trick: it’s possible to make the best tasting soup from…lettuce! (Who knew?)
Got Lettuce Wilting in the Fridge?
I had some leftover arugula and endive salad for dinner last night. Instead of transferring it to the fridge where I knew it wouldn’t be so good to eat the next day, I decided to use it to make soup.
I poured off the dressing, then dropped the leftover arugula and endive salad into a sauce pan. I then added a little cream and a couple of chicken bouillon cubes (of course, if you have chicken stock on hand, that’s preferable). Since I didn’t have so much arugula and endive left, I then threw in the rest of some fresh ruby lettuce that I happened to have on hand, followed by the bunch of spinach from the crisper drawer that just had a day or two left. (Making soup is a great way to use up overripe veggies.)
Once it had all cooked a bit, I dropped my magical ‘electric wand’ into the pot and mixed it all up. After that, I added a little sautéed onion, and thickened it all with a little flour and some cornstarch.
Voila, excellent lettuce soup! No leftover taste here. Why, you’d think I‘d made it fresh!
Turns out there really is such a thing as lettuce soup! Got some wilting lettuce in the fridge, or even a little leftover salad yourself? Try these two recipes, one from Emeril Lagasse, the other from Slovakia using sausages.
Two More Great Recipes for Making Lettuce Soup
From Emeril Lagasse, Soup Made from Two Heads of Boston Lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves, plus more for garnishing
1 tablespoon chopped chives, plus more for garnishing
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon leaves, plus more for garnishing
2 heads Boston lettuce, leaves torn
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chive blossoms, for garnishing, optional
Directions for Making Emeril Lagasse’s Lettuce Soup
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. When hot add the onions and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the parsley, chives, tarragon and lettuce and stir until the lettuce is completely wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
When ready to serve, process the soup, in batches, taking care since the soup is hot, then return to a clean saucepan. Stir in the heavy cream or evaporated milk and the salt and pepper and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until heated through. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and serve immediately, garnished with fresh herbs and chive blossoms, if desired.
From Slovakia, Soup Made from Iceberg Lettuce and Sausages
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
2 1/2 cups chicken broth or water
2 1/2 cups milk or 2 cups milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 head chopped iceberg lettuce
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, or to taste
Salt to taste
Directions for Making Slovakian Lettuce Soup
In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting butter or bacon drippings with 4 tablespoons flour and cooking until flour is light brown. Stir in broth or water and bring to a boil. Whisk together 1 teaspoon flour and milk, and add to saucepan. Simmer a few minutes.
Add lettuce, vinegar, sugar and dill. Bring to a boil and turn off heat. Adjust seasonings and serve in heated bowls with optional hard-cooked eggs, skinned and sliced smoked sausage, bacon bits, and mashed potatoes, if desired. Garnish with a sprig of dill.
Tell Us About Your Experiences Making These Delicious Lettuce Soups
Wouldn’t it be great if we could help reduce all that salad and lettuce that goes to waste? Please let me know how you like these recipes, or share some of your own. What other ideas might you have for making sure that leftover salad doesn’t go to waste?