We eat lots of soup at our house, all of it homemade. Commercial soups have too much salt for our heart-healthy diet and the low sodium soups I sampled from grocery stores always tasted, frankly, pretty awful.
This creamy red butter lettuce soup is easy to make and is a nice change from my usual rotation of leek and potato, lentil or split pea soup. The original recipe came from a Sunset magazine a few years back. I found some beautiful red butter lettuce at the market and decided to substitute it for the romaine suggested in their recipe. I admit to having some second thoughts about what color the soup would turn out to be. All green butter lettuce would definitely make a brighter colored soup, but we enjoyed its delicate flavor.
TIP: The nutmeg is a “must” ingredient, freshly grated if you can.
- 2 large heads red butter lettuce (about 2 pounds total)
- 2 large leeks, white and light green portions only
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon - or any lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- ½ cup cream or half and half
- nutmeg (optional garnish)
- Separate the leaves from both lettuce heads. Wash and dry them. Roughly chop the leaves.
- Cut the leeks lengthwise, wash them and cut into horizontal slices.
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a large,heavy bottomed pot. Add the leeks, nutmeg, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the lettuce leaves and stock, cover pot and turn up heat until it comes to a boil. Lower heat, keep pot covered, and cook 1-2 minutes, just until lettuce leaves become tender.
- Using either an immersion or standing blender, purée the soup until smooth. Return to pot, if using a standing blender. Add the cream and cook over medium-low heat until heated through.
- Ladle into bowls, garnish with nutmeg and serve.