Above: a cup of Dutch mustard soup at our home in Belgium. The Flemish like mustard soup as much as the Dutch. (Rhyme unintended.)
November 22nd Jan and I were in Delft, Holland for a little R&R. We were determined to have some mustard soup. Does that sound strange? Actually mustard soup is delicious. It is a winter staple in both Holland and Flanders.
We found what we were looking for at Restaurant Le Mariage. The front of this restaurant faces a canal (surprise!) and is adjacent to the smallest house in Delft.
The narrow house to the right of the restaurant as we see it in this photo is the smallest house in Delft. Yes, that narrow space between the other buildings (one window wide) is a house!
On to the soup. It was served with a dark rye bread and fresh, creamy butter.
Absolutely delicious. Especially on a cold day.
Today I decided to see if the recipe I found for mustard soup when we first moved to Belgium was as good as what we had a few weeks ago in Delft.
Here is a list of my ingredients:
1 liter water
2 cubes of chicken bouillon (European-size)
200 ml of Creme Fraiche (40% heavy cream)
2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
125 grams of smeerkass (white spreadable cheese)
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
Salt and pepper to taste
Easy peasy. Boil the water, add the bouillon cubes, the cream, cheese and mustard. Stir briskly with a whisk to blend ingredients.
I would suggest holding 1/4 cup water back to mix with the corn starch cold. Then add that the the boiling mixture and stir briskly again with a whisk until thickend.
The mustard I used was from Kent, England and not very yellow or strong. Zaanse mustard is what the recipe calls for -- but I didn't have any on hand. I added an extra tablespoon of yellow mustard to give my soup more flavor and color -- something like Zaanse mustard.
Kind of. Oh! I also added a thimble or two of cheap Cognac. It does make a difference to the final taste. Subtle but important.
It's very similar to the soup we had in Delft. Now, I just need to figure out how to make the frothy stuff that was on top of the soup in Restaurant Le Mariage. Maybe some egg white? Beaten and added before serving?
If you come to visit us, and if it is winter, and if you are adventurous and brave -- I'll make you some Zaansemosterdsoep for lunch. We'll have dark, rye bread with fresh, creamy butter.
If all those contingencies converge, you'll love it.