Lettuce and Tarragon Soup

(from The Herbfarm Cookbook -Traunfeld)

 

2 medium leeks

1 medium head romaine lettuce

4 T. unsalted butter

¼ c. fresh French tarragon leaves

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

4 c. homemade or canned chicken or vegetable stock

Optional garnish: crème fraiche or sour cream, and heavy cream

About 1 tsp. salt, less if using canned stock

 

 

Cut off and discard the green tops of the leeks.  Split any remaining portion lengthwise in half, and wash thoroughly.  Thinly slice them into half circles and discard the roots.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and just beginning to turn golden, about 10 minutes.  Add the stock and salt and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook at a bubbling simmer for 15 minutes to soften the leeks further.

 

Meanwhile, slice the whole head of romaine crosswise into 1 inch thick strips and discard the base.  Wash the lettuce in a deep basin of cold water and drain in a colander.  Stir the lettuce into the soup, increase the heat to medium, and cook uncovered until the lettuce is wilted and softened, about 5 minutes.

 

Stir in the tarragon leaves.  Put half of the soup in the container of an electric blender.  Start the blender on low and gradually increase the speed to high and blend until very smooth.  Pour the pureed soup into a second saucepan and repeat with the remaining soup.  When all of the soup is pureed, gently reheat.  Taste and season with pepper and additional salt if needed.  (Herb substitutions: 1 c. chervil or 2 T. lovage leaves in place of the tarragon.)