I just found out that January is National Soup Month. I don’t know how I missed that before but maybe this is the perfect timing to talk about soup as folks are still digging themselves out from Winter Storm Jonas and it’s still so cold over much of the country. As we are into the final season of Downton Abbey too, let’s take inspiration from The Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by the awesome Maggie Smith) who is a big fan of soups.
She was the one who said, “‘Every good lady’s maid should know how to make a restorative broth.” I don’t have a lady’s maid (I went wrong somewhere…) and probably you don’t either, so here are some traditional Old Country soups from Europe that you can make yourself to get warmed up!
We’ll start with an English Barley Soup creation from Pamela Foster, author of the Abbey Cooks Entertain books. Beef and barley soup is a very old English dish – you’ll find a version of it in Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management book published in 1861, but it goes back long before that. On her DowntonAbbeyCooks.com blog, Pamela offers two variations: cream of barley for the posh family upstairs and a more rustic beef and barley soup for the servants downstairs. I’m with the servants – it looks delicious!
Farther north, Scotland is famous for its Cock-A-Leekie soup, which was first written about in the 1500s. It is often served on Burns Night at the end of January in celebration of the Scottish poet Robert Burns, but it is a year-round warming treat.
The soup is made of leeks and chicken, usually thickened with rice but sometimes with barley. Prunes are traditionally added for extra seasoning or as a garnish.
If you’ve been to France, you might have fond memories of luscious French onion soup. It’s a wonderful comfort food, served with croutons or slices of French bread on top, covered with melted cheese and traditionally served in a chunky round bowl with one or two handles. There are many versions of this simple but satisfying soup that dates back to Roman times, but the longer you leave the onions to caramelize, the richer the flavor! Here’s one recipe from Real SImple magazine.
We import quite a lot of antique Flemish furniture and lighting to our store, so I went looking for a traditional Flemish soup.
This recipe for Waterzooi soup is a great one to try if you want something a little different. The thick stewy soup is traditionally made with fish, although you can substitute chicken. It has egg yolks, cream and potatoes in it, so you won’t go hungry!
Do you have any favorite traditional soups, perhaps from old family recipes? Make our mouths water and tell us about it in the comments!
Aimee owns EuroLuxHome.com with her husband and best friend, Greg. Aimee sources amazing antique furniture, vintage lighting, & high-quality reproduction furniture to help her customers decorate their homes in a unique way. She loves her 9 (you read that right) fuzzy children and is renovating a 1920s bungalow in South Carolina. Find us on Facebook or connect with EuroLux on Google+. Or you can sign up here to receive this blog in your inbox.