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Saxe-Coburg Soup


Some say it was created for Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, who came from Saxe-Coburg and doted on Brussel sprouts. Others say no, it was named for the Queen's oldest son who in 1901 became the short-lived Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg. Regardless, it's an interesting and tasty royal soup--tiny chopped brussel sprouts, onion, and bits of smoky ham sweated slowly in butter, then simmered in a rich milky broth. Served with a splash of sherry and with traditional "sippets"--tiny cubes of toast. Traditionally the soup is pureéd, turning it a pale shade of green that Mrs. Beeton, in her Cookery and Household Management book recommends you deepen with "green colouring, if needed." Your choice. It's attractive and texturally interesting to leave as is, too. Serve hot to 8 people as a royal first course.

Garnish: "sippets"--toast cut into tiny cubes

Melt the butter in a large soup pot over low heat, scrape in the blanched and chopped brussel sprouts, the onion, and the ham, cover the pot, and sweat for about 10 minutes. They should not take on any color, but just soften. Stir in the flour and sugar, letting them soften. Then gradually stir in the hot milk and the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes, when the vegetables are tender.

Traditionally you would pureé the soup at this point, solids first. If you do so, serve it as a first course to an elegant meal in a classic 2-handled or no handled "cream cup' with saucer, serving with side dishes of sippets for dinners to garnish their bowls before eating. Alternatively, you can forego the pureé step and serve in soup plates, also passing the side dishes of sippets separately. Either way, it's a lovely and delicate soup.