Braised Boston Lettuce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Six


Appears in

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

Craig Claiborne’s Kitchen Primer

By Craig Claiborne

Published 1969

  • About


  • 6 heads Boston lettuce
  • pound salt pork or bacon
  • 1 small onion, peeled, sliced, and broken into rings
  • 1 carrot, scraped and thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 rib celery without leaves
  • ½ bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup fresh or canned chicken broth
  • ¾ cup brown sauce, or canned beef gravy
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Place the lettuce in a large kettle of cold water and agitate the lettuce gently with the hands without bruising the leaves.

  3. Drain the lettuce well and pull off one layer of large outer leaves. Trim off a thin slice from the stem end of each head but leave the core intact.

  4. Return the lettuce to the kettle and add water to barely cover. Bring to a boil and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Place the kettle under cold running water and let the water run until all the lettuce is chilled. Remove the lettuce, one head at a time, and squeeze well to extract more of the moisture. Set aside.

  5. Cut the salt pork or bacon into thin strips and scatter them over a 10-inch skillet with a cover. Scatter the onion rings, carrot slices, thyme, celery, and bay leaf over the skillet. Cook briefly until some of the fat is rendered from the salt pork or bacon. Do not brown. Arrange the lettuce over the bed of vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  6. Cook briefly and add the chicken broth and brown sauce. Bring to a boil and cover. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 1½ hours. Remove the lettuce while hot and split each head in half. Arrange the halves symmetrically on a hot platter. Spoon the sauce through a sieve and pour the sauce over the lettuce. Top with butter.