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Lettuce soup recipe. How to turn your party leftovers into treats

lettuce soup

Lettuce soup – wonderful hot or cold

This recipe is for a light, fresh tasting summery soup that is delicious either served hot on a chilly day or chilled on a warm summer’s night.

This is the first in a series of recipes that are designed to use up the food that’s left over after a party. Of course if you are faced with a glut of lettuces this would be a perfect recipe for those too.

If you think about lettuces for a moment it’s surprising that a vegetable with such a large range of varieties, textures and flavours is generally just served as a salad or bunged into sandwiches. From crunchy Romaine, Cos and Iceberg to the velvety leaves of the soft Butterhead lettuce and the cut and come again Salad Bowl to name just a few, we generally are not inspired by lettuce

Lettuce soup doesn’t sound very appetising but of course it’s all the other ingredients that make this particular soup so delicious and satisfying. If you are going down the left over party food route, don’t dress your lettuce and cucumber salads – leave a choice of dressing in jugs beside the salad bowls. Your guests can anoint their own salads and any left over leaves will be suitable for this soup- even the next day. The salad leaves will also keep fresher for longer if they’re not dressed with oil and vinegar.

The potatoes that I used to thicken this soup were from a potato salad that was doused with oil and vinegar when the potatoes were hot, so there was no oil and vinegar sloshing around in the bowl. Of course ordinary potatoes would do just as well – make sure that they are chopped small enough to cook through quickly. The cucumber adds body too.

The ingredients that really lift this soup are the garlic, vegetable bouillon powder (I use Marigold low salt) and the freshly ground white pepper. It’s worth investing in a small peppermill to grind your own white pepper – so much more subtle and sultry compared to black. Try it – you’ll be amazed at how useful it is when a dish needs a gentle lift.

Lettuce soup recipe. How to turn your party leftovers into treats
Recipe Type: Soup, Starter
Author: Fiona Nevile
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 8 handfuls of lettuce leaves – include stems and roughly tear them in half
  • Half a large cucumber – sliced into 3mm/one eighth of an inch slices
  • 3 chunky cloves of garlic chopped very fine
  • 1 large white onion – chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 5 heaped tablespoons of potato salad – dressed with oil and vinegar when hot OR 4 medium potatoes peeled and chopped small
  • 2-3 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon powder or 2-3 cubes of vegetable stock
  • Handful of parsley leaves – stalks removed. You could use coriander/cilantro leaves as an alternative
  • 1 litre/just over 2 pints of cold water
  • 3 large pinches of ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan heat the olive oil gently, add the onions and chopped garlic, stir so that the oil has covered the onion and garlic and sweat, lid on for 15 minutes, at the lowest possible temperature. Stir every now and then to stop the onions from sticking. After 15 minutes the onions should be soft and translucent.
  2. Add the potatoes, cucumber, torn lettuce leaves, parsley and cold water. Sprinkle over I teaspoon of stock powder/1 stock cube and stir well.
  3. Over a medium heat bring the saucepan to the boil and then turn the heat down to simmer for ten minutes or so until the potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Liquidise the soup so that the vegetables retain some chunkiness to give texture rather than becoming a puree. Taste and add more vegetable stock powder/cubes to taste. Add the ground white pepper and salt to taste – although the latter will probably not be necessary as vegetable bouillon can be quite salty.
  5. If hot serve in warm bowls. If cold chill the soup and the bowls in the fridge for several hours before serving. Melba toast would be perfect with this soup.
  6. Dress with chopped parsley or coriander/cilantro leaves

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4 Comments

  1. I am fairly convinced that this is how gaspacho came into being as it is basically a salad soup.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Good point. Diane, although this is cooked. I love Gazpacho :)

  2. veronica

    This looks a lot like my salad soup, which I’ve never made again :) But I’m sure yours tasted a lot better! Great idea to use the potato salad to thicken it.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Veronica – the answer is the garlic and even more the powdered bouillion. A lot of people are a bit sniffy about using bouillion but I find it a marvellous addition when things taste a bit meh!

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