I was telling a bunch of friends about this soup I made three nights ago. I wanted a health-giving snack just at bedtime. Not fruitcake! (Well, I really did want fruitcake—sighs!) There was a day-old salad in the fridge, but you know how arctic it’s been around here, lately. I did not want something cold to eat to comfort me to bed; I was already cold.
Then I thought of it.
Long ago, when one of my sons married, we had grilled chicken breast and a salad bar for the rehearsal dinner. Not as many family members made it to the dinner as had been planned and we had bags and bags of mixed greens left over, along with all the sliced and chopped veggies that usually occur on a salad bar. Plus the chicken. Lots of it.
So I decided to try something I’d read about somewhere, long ago:
Sad Salad Soup.
It is a British thing, I think I remember, and not really so very complicated. You just cook your salad and it becomes a lovely, warm meal.
So I mixed all those bags of salad and dishes of chopped veggies and then added the grilled chicken, which I had cubed, and a lot of water and a bit of seasoning, and ended up with 15 quarts of really amazing soup.
Which I then canned.
We loved it! The kids loved it! I could not believe it! Fifteen times, in the dead of winter, we had this lovely homemade soup for lunch. It was such a joy!
So, the other night, I mixed that sad salad with a bit of chicken broth I had, and added onion, a dab of mushrooms, and some herbs and spices and simmered it until all was soft and I was shocked at how good it smelled and tasted. How warm it was! How comforting and filling! How health-giving!
So let me tell you what it’s like, so you will believe me.
You know how carrots, beans, corn, etc., are when they are in soup or cooked alone. You may not know cooked lettuce will pass for cooked cabbage in a soup—milder, but the same idea. Cooked radishes turn out a lot like very mild cooked turnips. My salad that night also had celery in it. That was a great addition.
You probably can guess that this is not going to be a really real recipe. It’s a chance for you to be creative! Just toss the salad into a pot, add liquid, and simmer.
But I can tell you what I added to make it marvelous: I browned some onions and mushrooms in butter, a while, before I began, which I am sure added to the flavor. I am really fond of cumin, so I dosed it with that, plus a goodly amount of powdered cayenne and black pepper. Did I toss in a dried basil leaf? I think so… I almost forgot to add salt. Do use a bit of salt.
You can see, I am sure, how the options are endless. If I’d had some cauliflower and broccoli, I’d have added that, too. If I’d had left over cooked green beans, they’d have gone in, along with their broth. I actually had saved the broth from some creamed corn, for such a time as this, and it was a perfect addition.
In the end, I created two servings of very lovely soup, which I ate all gone!
I am so sorry I did not get a photo of it for you! I was thinking with my tummy that night! And I was cold!
However, as I said, I shared this experience with some friends and one of them had some lettuce that had gotten way too cold in the car after shopping. (It’s cold out there, folks!) So we discussed it and she made her soup (which her children loved—it cannot be coincidence!) and sent me a photo of HER soup. Not only that, but she graciously gave me total free permission to give you a peek at her soup! I am so thankful, but she is thankful, too, at being able to save that poor frost-bitten bag of salad. So, the soup you see on this post is hers, not mine. (Thank you, Heather!) And she ingeniously added a side of udon. Mmm!
If I could throw a soup together after only reading about it, and if she could do the same thing after only hearing about it, I KNOW you can do this, too!
It is so fun!
Have some fun!
And share with us how yours turns out!