Slovak lettuce soup recipe
To be honest, I wasn't sure I could admit this to you, but it's the truth, and you should know. On Monday morning, a few hours before Chelsea, my summer intern, arrived to cook with me, I opened my refrigerator door and found two heads of iceberg lettuce, one package of romaine lettuce hearts, and three half-full boxes of baby green and red romaine leaves. Good grief. Some went directly into the compost pile, but a good bit of useable greenery remained. A quick search of lettuce soup recipes brought me to this Slovak soup, called salatova polievka, a completely new-to-me way to use iceberg lettuce. The combination of sugar, distilled vinegar and lots of fresh dill weed will sound familiar to people from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and it brings the otherwise humble lettuce to life.
Slovak lettuce soup
Ever-so-slightly adapted from this recipe for Slovak lettuce soup on About.com. Serves 4-6, with crusty bread on the side.
3 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp + 1 tsp unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
2-1/2 cups water or chicken broth
2-1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill, or more to taste, plus extra for garnish.
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter, and whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour. The mixture will seem quite dry, but continue whisking for 1-2 minutes, until it turns light brown. Stir in the water or broth, and bring to a boil (this will happen quite quickly). Whisk the remaining 1 teaspoon of flour into the milk, and pour that mixture into the pot. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add in the lettuce, vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium-high, and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat off. Taste, and adjust seasoning with more salt or pepper.
Serve hot, garnished with extra dill.