Leftover Bean & Lettuce Soup

On my last post showing how to cook a great Rack of Lamb, I promised to tell you what to do with the leftovers and do so, I shall! I had about 200g finished beans left over. I also had a half a head of old iceberg lettuce, but you could use any floppy green you have in your chiller. Whole handfuls of slightly wilting coriander, a variety of Chinese vegetables, a selection of different herbs, it will all work perfectly, as long as they wilt relatively quickly in your hot soup. The only other thing you need is a bit of stock. I used frozen fish stock I made a few week earlier. I actually thought I’d taken chicken stock out of the freezer, but I wasn’t wearing my glasses… It worked anyway.


  • 200g leftover bean stew
  • 300ml chicken, fish or other stock
  • 2 handful iceberg or other lettuce (or any leafy thing you can find)
  • 50-100ml cream or crème fraîche

Chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces. Divide your leftover beans into 2, heat one half with the stock and blend, return to the pot, the add the other half to it and heat through. Once it’s simmering, add the lettuce or other greens and simmer until they are softened. I like to use iceberg lettuce, which quite frankly is an abysmally bland, boring thing until it’s stir fried or boiled, because it has a little crunch that happily survives being simmered a while.
If you made this in advance, reheat the soup just before serving and once it’s simmering, turn off the heat, give it a minute or two and add the cream. Done. You can garnish with herbs of our choice, or spring onion, or a drop of cream, but it like to keep it really simple and homely, because that’s the kinda guy I am.

Hausfrauen Ratschlag:

I don’t have cream!! Don’t fret, you can replace it with milk. It won’t thicken your soup, but it will still soften the edges of the flavours and round your soup off nicely.
Your other option is yoghurt, a pinch of sugar (if you’re using natural, unsweetened, and why would you be using anything else?) and an egg yolk. Don’t boil the soup once you’ve added this, but apart from that you’re good to go. Yoghurt without egg? Yes, but don’t put it into the pot, just stir in a pinch of sugar and drop a dollop into the middle of your plate. (Why the sugar? Natural yoghurt is quite a bit more acidic than crème fraîche and definitely more than cream, that’s why.)
My soup is too thin! Mix a tablespoon butter with a tablespoon flour (no need to sieve) to get a paste and drop bits of it into your simmering soup. It will take a while to thicken, so don’t be too gung ho about it. Which leads me to:
It’s not baby food, it’s a soup! A soup is a liquid, it’s not a sauce, it’s not a vegetable puree, it’s not the consistency of double cream! So unless you’re making something to feed farm workers in the Middle Ages, your soup is probably thick enough as it is.

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