Butterhead Lettuce Soup With Nutmeg And Black Pepper

About Lettuce Soup and Soup in General

lettuce woup with nutmeg and black pepper

The soup universe is a big place – hearty winter soups with lentils, root vegetables, pearl barley, rich spices like smoked paprika and herbs with deep notes, like sage, bay and oregano.

Bean soups  such as the Mexican black-bean soup with chipotle chilli and epazote herb (my favourite).

Light consomés, cream soups, cold soups …and of course lettuce soup

Veggie soups are often constructed from

  • a base of stock, water or other liquid such as milk
  • grains and pulses
  • vegetables – a medley or a single player
  • aromatic herbs and spices
  • thickeners such as potatoes or flour (best mixed with butter to form a roux)
  • enrichers such as creme fraiche or grated cheese
  • texture from croutons , toasted nuts and seeds and more
  • a final top note and garnish – for example pesto Genovese and Parmesan cheese over an Italian minestrone

Of course there’s going to be more exceptions than rules, but it’s good to start somewhere

Lettuce soup needs a stock

  • We use a home-made stock more often than not
  • Or you can use a good quality powdered stock-cube
  • Some soups like the minestrone have so much flavour that water is the only stock necessary

Good vegetables to use include for lettuce soup

  • carrots
  • onions
  • celery (go easy – celery has a loud voice)
  • white root veg such as turnips and parsnips
  • fennel bulb
  • cabbage

Herbs and spices you can use (sparingly)

  • parsley, stalks and all
  • fresh or dried fennel seeds, lavender flowers, star anise, bay leaf, marjoram, rosemary

Don’t forget to experiment, experiment …

Put everything into a pot with plenty of water, cook gently for half an hour, remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon or pass through a strainer and voila!

I like to think of dishes as having layers,  like music – the melody resting on base notes, maybe enhanced by a top note. There may be more any number of voices at any end of the scale. Perfumiers also follow these guidelines

Lettuce soup is not not quite a full-on symphony, it’s more like a concerto from a small chamber orchestra

A light but complex stock holds the sweet, slightly bitter notes of just wilted bright green leaves, enveloped in creamy richness and finished with heady, sweet spices

lettuce woup with nutmeg and black pepper

Creamy Lettuce Soup With Nutmeg And Black Pepper

This soup incorporates the depth of a home-made stock, the soft tones and textures of butterhead lettuce enriched with creme fraiche for a touch of tartness and an aromatic spicy note
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Snack, Soup, supper
Cuisine European



  • 1 knob butter or good gently flavoured oil
  • 1 white onion or a bunch or spring onions
  • 1-2 cloves garlic

Vegetable Stock

  • Home-made (see above), powdered or stock-cube

The Star Of The Show

  • 2-4 sweet tasting lettuce such as Butterhead quantities depend of size


  • 1 mediem potato

Finish with

  • 1 good dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt
  • plenty of black pepper and nutmeg (both freshly ground)


Make a stock

    Cook the main ingredients

    • melt the butter or heat the oil, add finely chopped onions and garlic
    • sweat the onions for 5 minutes without browning until soft and translucent
    • add the very finely chopped potato and sweat over low heat until totally soft
      you may have to add a small amount of liquid and you'll definitely need to cover the pan. don't let the potato brown
    • finely chop the lettuce and add to the pan
      add some of your favourite herbs
      cook over a low flame until it's soft but retains its bright color 
      add the hot stock and cook briefly
      season with salt 
    • blend lightly maintaining some of the texture - this is most easily achieved with a hand blender
    • stir in a dollop of cream or yoghurt and finish off with freshly milled black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg



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