An English soup is an important part of the English cuisine. English cuisine is an umbrella term that includes the cooking styles, recipes and traditions that can be traced back to England. While the cuisine has various unique attributes of its own, it shares lots of things with the British cuisine.
The cuisine is marked by the extensive use of non-heavy sauces, complex flavors and strong seasonings. It is mostly simple and made from products that are easily available everywhere in the country. The cuisine of England has been influenced by various cuisines of the world; particularly Indian, Thai, Italian and French, and the soups are no different. Soups of the English cuisine show influences of all these cultures, albeit with more toned down flavors.
English soups have evolved a lot over the years, especially during the times when most of the world was a British colony. When the English returned to their homeland, they brought with them the flavors of nations where they had stayed and these flavors then got incorporated with the standard English flavors. Today, there are over a hundred English soup recipes, some more popular than the others. Regional versions of individual recipes also exist.
Common Ingredients Used in Popular English Soup Recipes
There are various recipes to make an English soup and therefore, a large number of ingredients can be used for preparation. Everything from vegetables and meats to herbs, spices and dairy products are commonly used to make popular English soups. Chicken and seafood are the most popular meats, while potato is probably one of the most used vegetables. Sauces and condiments are usually simple and spicy ingredients are almost never a part of the soups. There are, however, a few fusions soups that are spicier and richer than the traditional varieties.
Peas, potatoes, sausages, tomatoes, chicken, seafood, red meats, nuts, mushrooms, basil, cilantro, coriander and mint are some of the mostly used ingredients.
Ingredients that are common to almost all soups are bouillon, broth, water, oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Preparation Overview of English Soups
Preparation of an English soup is generally an easy process and it is not very time consuming. Minimal use of condiments, sauces and spices makes the soup a simple enough preparation. The ingredients to be used are first prepared (diced, chopped, sliced, washed, cleaned, etc.) and then mixed in a pot with the essential ingredients (oil, water, broth, bouillon, etc.). The pot is then cooked over heat till the soup is done. While the soups were slow cooked traditionally, modern chefs prefer to use modern kitchen equipment like stoves and hot plates for faster cooking.
Popular English Soups
London Particular - This is one of the most popular English soups and has its roots in the London of 1950s. Made with ham hock and split green or yellow peas, the soup is a healthy preparation that is easy to make and tastes good.
Mulligatawny - The name of the English soup comes from the Tamil word for 'pepper water'. This is a fusion preparation that was brought to England by the British who stayed and served in South India during the days of the Raj. Rice, butter, chicken and pepper are the main ingredients used in the soup. To suit English tastes, the spices of the preparation are often toned down.
Cock-a-leekie - Made with prunes, chicken and leeks, this traditional soup is known for its mellow taste. Freshly ground black pepper gives the preparation a distinct aroma.
Oxtail soup – This soup is a simple and delectable preparation made from butter, oxtail, cloves and carrots, among other ingredients. This is one of the very few English preparations in which garlic is used in substantial quantities.
English Soups Trivia
A traditional English soup is one of the most important foods in the quintessential English barbeque and picnic party.