Sunday, February 26, 2012

For the Mustard Lovers: Mustard Soup, Simple

Dutch mustard soup
The Dutch are a special nation. They live, at least partly, below sea level, their geographic location is fairly free from disease carrying insects and therefore well placed for growing seeds, seed potatoes, grain seed, grass seed. They have conquered the tulip bulb market and much of the flower market. They sell tulips in bunches of 25 and roses in bunches of a dozen and they are cheap. I mention this because in Switzerland bouquets often come with 3-4 flowers and a lot of green stuff like leaves, branches, meadow grass and are overpriced for that. In Holland it was not unusual that I had 50 tulips or 20 roses at home and just for pocket money.

They’ve enriched the language with several phrases related to drinking and eating behaviour like "Dutch courage" or "Going Dutch". The only two nations I know of  that drink a lot of milk and butter milk -I mean grown-ups not just children - are the Dutch and the Estonians.
The Dutch have lovely deep fried croquettes that may be eaten between a sandwich, they eat sandwiches with a fork and knife (Is that why their bread is so soft?), they have top class herring, plenty of smoked eel and small prawns…
They make soup out of mustard. I haven’t found another nation who makes a soup out of a favourite condiment. Anyone know of popular soy sauce or ketchup soup? I managed to get addicted to Dutch mustard soup when I lived in Amsterdam. The company canteen served mustard soup on a weekly basis and the milk and butter milk was free and still is.Variations to the classic recipe exist. My other favourite is mustard soup with spinach.

The mustard soup is ready in less than 30 minutes.

70g smoked bacon or smoked meat, cut into thin stripes
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
3 tbsp rape seed oil or 25g butter
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp grainy mustard
1 tbsp smooth mustard
3 level tbsp all purpose flour
1 l chicken bouillon
100g crème fraîche or fresh cream
Chopped parsley or green leek to garnish
In a hot pan fry the bacon for a couple of minutes. Add the oil or butter, the mustard seeds and the onion. Cook until the onion is slightly softer. Add the flour and mix it with the onion and fat. Then add the mustards. Slowly mix in the hot bouillon stirring constantly in the beginning to smooth the flour. Simmer for 10 minutes until the soup thickens.

Eet smakelijk!
The mustard seeds in the soup give a little crunchiness to the bite