Brown Windsor Soup

On the eve of British Food Month in Manila, it’s apt that this week I’m featuring a truly iconic British dish – Windsor Brown Soup.

British Food Month, organized by the British Embassy in association with numerous top Manila hotels, will give Filipinos the chance to experience the different aspects and wide variety of British dishes without having to go abroad.

Queen Victoria served Windsor Brown Soup at Windsor Castle

Queen Victoria served Windsor Brown Soup at Windsor Castle

Running from January 13 to February 9, it’s part of “This is Great Britain” campaign – a five month celebration of the best of British business and culture.

No doubt Windsor Brown Soup will be on the menu.

Brown Windsor Soup

Brown Windsor Soup

This classic British starter is a hearty meaty soup much favoured during the Victorian and Edwardian eras in Britain. So hearty was this soup it has been said it did much to “sustain the British empire!”

Queen Victoria loved it and served it regularly at Windsor Castle as well as at state banquets. It’s a delicious, nourishing, thick and beefy dish which can be enhanced with a drop of Spanish sherry or brandy.

Queen Victoria - loved Brown Windsor Soup

Queen Victoria – loved Brown Windsor Soup

The popularity of Brown Windsor Soup went into steep decline after World War II due mainly to post war rationing and the lack of quality ingredients.

But now it’s undergoing something of a revival in Britain and it’s started to appear again on menus in hotels and restaurants up and down the country. Perhaps because of a feeling of nostalgia for the “good old days” or just because it’s a damn good soup.

Either way, it’s a great dish and I really would like you to try it. Your family and friends will be intrigued by its unusual taste.

Soups make tasty and filling snacks. I usually have a bowl for lunch every day with a slice of crusty bread. I make around two to three liters at a time and then portion it out into microwave boxes and freeze it. Keeps for weeks.

Brown Windsor Soup can be a meal in itself if served with crusty farm bread or perhaps even with a cup of rice.
I’ll be making a batch this week using this recipe:

Ingredients

Oil for frying (personally, I prefer to use lard)
300g steak, cut into small pieces
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek, well rinsed, trimmed and roughly chopped
Good knob of butter
2 tbsps flour
1tsp tomato purée
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Good pinch of thyme
1 small bay leaf
3 liters beef stock
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2tbsps cream sherry or brandy

Method

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and fry the meat and vegetables over a high heat until nicely browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and flour, stir well and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the tomato purée, garlic, thyme and bay leaf, and gradually add the beef stock, stirring well to avoid lumps. Bring to the boil, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for 2 hours until the meat is tender.

Save a few pieces of meat and blend the rest of the soup in a liquidiser or with a stick blender. The soup should be rich in flavour and a nice brown colour; if not, return it to the heat and simmer it a little longer to concentrate the flavor.

Add the tender cubes of meat, check the seasoning, and pour in the sherry or brandy just before serving.

Bon Appétit!

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A toast to Queen Elizabeth 11

A toast to Queen Elizabeth 11. British Ambassador, HE Stephen Lillie (right) hosted a reception at his home in Forbes Park, Makati City, on Monday, to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Among the guests was Robert Harland (left) NDB features writer and the British Embassy Warden for Negros Occidental.

A toast to Queen Elizabeth 11. British Ambassador, HE Stephen Lillie (right) hosted a reception at his home in Forbes Park, Makati City, on Monday, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Among the guests was Robert Harland (left) NDB features writer and the British Embassy Warden for Negros Occidental.