Tag Archives: Soups

Dutch Mustard Soup

Dutch Mustard Soup

Dutch Mustard Soup

At first, when I heard about Mustard Soup, I thought it must be a joke.  It must be just a name surely, because of course you can’t make soup out of mustard – can you?  I began to wonder if we were talking about a version of the mythical ‘stone soup’.   I watched others eat it and it didn’t look apetizing, a sort of muddy sludge.  What I didn’t know at the time is that the Mustard Soups I had witnessed were ones from a packet.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I tried it in the safety of a friend’s house.  As he set the plates of mustard soup down, all I could do was make the same anticipatory noises as my fellow Dutch diners and hope for the best.  As I dove in for my first mouthful, I got mentally prepared and told myself to be polite and  not to grimace if it was awful.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  This was proper Dutch Mustard Soup, the way it was supposed to be.  Creamy and light with a background of mustard flavour – delicious!  I wouldn’t be without this recipe.

I really like to serve this as a starter to a fish based meal, but of course it is a great precursor to meats too.

You will notice that some of my ingredients are not quite Dutch, I have adapted this, if only slightly, to my own taste.

Preparation: less than 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

150gr / 5.3 oz. bacon lardons
40gr / 1.5 oz. plain flour
40gr / 1.5 oz. unsalted butter
1 x liter / 1.7 pt. (UK) / 2 x pt. (US) chicken stock
100ml / 3.4 fl. oz.  single cream
1 x medium sized shallot chopped very finely
2 x large cloves of garlic chopped very finely
2 x tbsp of grain mustard
2 x tsp of English Mustard
½ a fresh nutmeg grated
Salt and pepper
Freshly chopped spring onion to dress

Method

  1. Fry off the bacon in a frying pan until it is cooked and crispy, set aside. You can drain off any excess oil by placing the bacon on some kitchen paper for a while.
  2. In your soup pan, add the butter and heat until melted, then fry off the garlic and shallots gently so that they soften but don’t take on colour. This should take about a minute.
  3. Then it’s time to make the roux which is the base of this soup. Add the flour and stir quickly into the butter mix with a wooden spoon until coated, then add the stock and whisk through with a metal whisk.  Keep going until the soup starts to thicken.  This should take about 7 minutes.
  4. On a medium heat, add the cream, mustard and nutmeg. Stir through and then check for seasoning.  You may find that you don’t have to add any salt and pepper as the mustard can be salty as well as the stock.
  5. You can either add the bacon to the soup, or as I like to do sprinkle a little over each serving with some spring onion or chives.

Tips and Variations

  • You may have noticed that there are a couple of ingredients that are not authentic in this recipe, the English mustard is of course one of those. I like to use it as it gives an extra depth as well as colour.  Nutmeg is also my own personal addition.  I think it works well in this roux/cream soup it also adds a little to the depth of flavour.
  • I would always recommend good quality stock to make soups as this is will affect the flavour greatly. Try and go to your butcher for this or some supermarkets do nice ones too.  The stock cube tends to just be a little bomb of salt and trans fat.
  • This soup is nice served with some rye bread, perhaps with some Dutch mature Gouda (only if you can get the real stuff though), if not, I like Emmentaler with some fresh tomato.

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Lamb with Spring Vegetable Broth and Real Mint Sauce

 

Lamb with Spring Vegetable Broth and Real Mint Sauce

Lamb with Spring Vegetable Broth and Real Mint Sauce

Believe it or not I’ve been mulling this recipe over for about two years now.  I saw some michelin star chef or other making a very complicated version on a TV show and decided I liked the basic idea, but needed to normalize it for us home cooks.  Of course without losing any flavour.

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes
Cooking Time:  25 Minutes

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings
The Spring Vegetable Broth
800ml / 27 fl. oz. of good quality Chicken (or vegetable) stock
500gr / 1.1 lb. baby carrots, cut lengthways in half and then into pieces of about 2.5cm / 1in.
6 x spring onions, cut lengthways in half and then into pieces of about 2.5cm / 1in.
250gr / 0.5 lb of peas (fresh or frozen)
2 x shallots chopped finely
2 x cloves of garlic chopped finely
1 x tbsp of thyme leaves
1 x tbsp of finely chopped fresh chives
1 x tbsp of finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

The Mint Sauce
The leaves of 8 to 10 stalks of mint
4 x tbsp of water from a recently boiled kettle
3 x tbsp of white wine vinegar
1 x tbsp of sugar
Salt to taste

The Lamb Chops
2 or 3 lamb chops per person
1 x tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
1 x tbsp of finely chopped fresh oregano
Juice of a lemon
1 x tbsp of olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lamb with Spring Vegetable Broth and Real Mint Sauce

Method

  1. I like to start by making the mint sauce. Strip the leaves of mint from the stalks, sprinkle over a little salt and chop them until fine.  Place them in a bowl, pour over the boiling water and add the sugar, stir through and leave to cool.  Once cool add the vinegar and check the flavour – you can adjust the salt, vinegar or sugar if you wish.
  2. Then, prepare the lamb chops. In a bowl, mix together the thyme, oregano, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add the chops and mix through to cover them with the rub and set aside.  Line a roasting tray with aluminium foil ready for the lamb to be roasted in.
  3. Now for the broth. In a medium/large heavy bottomed pan, heat the stock until it reaches a gentle boil, add the garlic, shallots, thyme and carrots.  Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid, and cook for about 8 minutes on a gentle simmer.  You should cook until the carrots are almost ready.  When I start cooking the broth I like to put the oven on to heat for the lamb chops at 180°C / 360°F
  4. Whilst the broth is cooking, your oven will reach temperature, place the chops in your lined tray, scraping all the rub over them and put them in the oven. The chops will need about 15 to 20 minutes in the oven – flip them over half way through the cooking time.
  5. Add the spring onions, peas and salt and pepper to your broth and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary (the amount will depend on how your stock tastes), add the parsley and chives just before serving.
  7. I like to place the broth in the bowl then the chops on top and drizzle with a little mint sauce.

Tips and Variations

  • When cooking the broth, it is important to cook the vegetables gently and not on a fierce boil. If you do boil them to harshly, you will lose a lot of the liquid in the broth.  Also, the cooking time depends on the size you have cut your vegetables.  The reason you don’t want the carrots cooked through at stage 3 is because you need to let them cook a little more with the rest of the vegetables and you don’t want them turning to mush.
  • There should be enough broth to serve just a little with each serving. Think of it in this recipe as being more of a light sauce or gravy rather than a soup – you don’t want the lamb swimming in it.
  • More often than not, I use frozen peas for this recipe. I don’t defrost them before adding them to the broth as they defrost and cook really quickly.
  • I like to serve this dish with some boiled potatoes (new if in season) tossed in a little salt, pepper and chives.

Lamb with Spring Vegetable Broth and Real Mint Sauce

Recipe for Lentil Soup with Chorizo

LentilChorizoSoup

A variation on a theme, I suppose you could call this.  After a winter of making big broths based on lentils, I still had a lot of the little dried beads in my store cupboard.  I know, you can keep lentils for ages, years probably.  Thing is, I felt them looking at me, challenging me.  I couldn’t shake it.  The feeling of finding a recipe to bring my winter lentil soups into the spring.  Then it dawned on me.  Chorizo! Of course, that would do it.  Chorizo would give a that burst of sunshine I was looking for!

Preparation Time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

Serves 4 to 6
1 x tbsp of sunflower (or other flavourless oil)
1.2 liter / 2.5pt US / 2.1pt UK of chicken stock
2 x shallots chopped finely
2 x large cloves of garlic chopped finely
200gr / 7 oz. chorizo chopped into small cubes.  (I use ready cooked, but you can use raw too.)
2 x tsp of tomato purée
2 x tsp of smoked paprika powder (if you can’t find it, just use normal paprika powder)
1 x tbsp fresh thyme leaves
200gr / 7oz. yellow lentils (or red)
Salt and pepper
Optional – some fresh chives chopped finely to dress

LentilChorizIngred

 Method

  1. In a large pan, heavy bottomed pan heat the oil on a medium high heat and add the shallot and garlic.  Fry for a minute or so allowing the shallot and garlic to soften.
  2. Add the chorizo and stir through giving it about 30 seconds to give off its colour and flavour.  If you are using raw chorizo you may wish to give it a little bit more time here.  Remember though, it will have enough time to cook through later.
  3. Add the thyme, tomato purée, paprika powder and lentils.  Stir the lentils though and then add the stock.
  4. Add a little bit of salt and some black pepper.  Cover your soup and allow it to simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are cooked and softened to your taste.
  5. Check for seasoning and serve.

LentilChorizoPan

 Tips and Variations

  • If you leave the soup to stand for a while or overnight (which makes the flavour even better), you may find that it becomes thicker.  Just add a little water and stir through before heating up.  Be careful not to add so much water that you dilute the flavour as well as the consistency.

 

Recipe for Minestrone Soup

MinestronSoupBowl

It’s easy to forget that Minestrone soup is actually Italian, it’s been a staple in so many countries for so long.  That probably goes some way to explaining the variety you find in the soups, not to mention the quality!  This recipe is pretty classic, but don’t let an Italian mama see it, she may differ in her opinion.  Although, I reckon she would love it too.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  50 minutes

Ingredients for 4 to 6 servings as a full meal
1 x tbsp olive oil
125gr / 4.5 oz. smoked bacon sliced finely or into thin strips
1 x large onion chopped finely
3 x large cloves of garlic, chopped finely
3 x stalks of celery chopped finely
3 x carrots, peeled and chopped finely
2 x tbsp tomato purée
1 x tbsp of fresh thyme leaves
2 x large tomatoes chopped into 8ths
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes (400gr / 14 oz.)
1 x tin of kidney beans (400gr / 14 oz.) drained and washed.  A more traditional option is cannellini beans, but I just prefer kidney.
100gr / 3.5 oz. macaroni (or you can use spaghetti or other pasta broken into little pieces).
1.2 liter / 2.5 pt. UK / 2.1 pt.US chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 of a savoy cabbage, shredded
Salt and black pepper to taste
Some finely grated parmesan to serve

minestroneingred2

 Method

  1. Heat the oil in a very large pan that has a close fitting lid.  Then add the celery, bacon, onion, carrot and garlic.  Fry this off for about 5 to 7 minutes until it has softened a little.  No colour is needed on the vegetables, so make sure the heat isn’t too high that they become brown, but high enough the vegetables sweat and soften.
  2. Add the tomato purée and  the thyme leaves, stir through and cook for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the stock, the tin of tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and a little salt and pepper. Stir everything through, set the heat so that your soup is on a gentle simmer, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked al dente.
  4. Add the pasta and cook until the pasta is ready.  Follow the timing instructions on the packet, but this is normally about 7 minutes.
  5. Add the cabbage and the beans and cook until the cabbage has wilted.  This will take about 5 minutes.
  6. Check for seasoning and add some salt and pepper if needed before serving.
  7. Sprinkle a little parmesan over each bowl of soup.

 Tips and Variations

  • You may find that you need to add more liquid as the soup can become quite thick. You can add water or a little more stock to get the consistency you need.
  • It is important to use smoked bacon as un-smoked will not give you much, if any flavour.
  • This soup is very filling on its own, but it is also really nice served with some crusty, dark, rustic bread.
  • You can add some spinach or other leafy vegetable instead of the cabbage.  In fact, I am sure you can see by looking at the recipe that you can add all sorts of vegetables to this soup base.
  • If you would like to serve this as a starter type of soup, I would suggest removing the pasta and the beans and adding about 25% more stock and about 250ml water.

MinestronePan

Recipe for Lentil and Ham Soup

LentilHamSoup

This is not a soup for the faint hearted.  In fact it’s a very hearty soup.  A meal in itself.  More than a meal, it’s a real rib-sticker, but great for cold winter nights or even to take with you in a flask for lunch.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1.5 hours, roughly

 Ingredients for 6 to 8 servings
1 x tbsp of olive oil
2 x medium onions chopped finely
2 x medium sized carrots (about 300gr / 10oz) chopped finely
1 x meaty ham hock weighing about 700gr / 1.5lb
1.5 liter / 2.5 pints (U.K) / 3 pint (U.S) chicken or ham stock (vegetable is OK too)
2 x bay leaves
1 x tbsp fresh thyme leaves
200gr / 7oz yellow lentils
200gr / 7oz red lentils
Salt and pepper

To Serve

2 x slices of rye bread per person, sliced into strips, place some thinly sliced Ardennes or other cured ham on the bread (Serano is great too).

Method

  1. In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion and carrot.  Cover your pan and sweat the vegetables for about 5 to 7 minutes or until they soften a little.
  2. Add the ham hock, stock, bay leaves, thyme, and a little salt and pepper to the pan, cover and bring to the boil.  Make sure the liquid covers your ham, if not, just add a little water.  Boil gently for about an hour or until the ham has cooked.
  3. Add the lentils and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until the lentils have softened.  The lentils can swell quite a lot and make your soup quite thick, so you may need to add some more water as, or after they have cooked.  The soup should not be watery though, it is meant to be a meal.
  4. Once the ham and lentils are cooked, remove the bay leaves and the ham.
  5. Strip the meat from the bone and rip or cut into bite sized pieces and return to the soup.
  6. Check for seasoning and serve.

Tips and Variations

  • If you leave the soup to stand for a while or overnight (which makes the flavour even better), you may find that it becomes thicker.  Just add a little water and stir through before heating up.  Be careful not to add so much water that you dilute the flavour as well as the consistency.
  • You don’t have to use two types of lentils, either one is fine.  I just like the resulting colour that this mix gives.
  • Add salt carefully, as sometimes the ham can be quite salty in itself, so you may not need to add much.