Brown Windsor Soup
Here in Canberra, I am suffering the depths of winter. I hate winter. It's cold. I hate being cold. Enough said.
For the last few weeks my parents have been braving this purgatory to visit me. This is quite something given that they have spent their entire lives in warm and tropical Queensland. As compensation, they demanded 1) free reign over the heater, 2) sole custody of the TV remote control while the lawn bowls was on and 3) good food.
I was happy to oblige with one. I coped with two by retreating to the kitchen in order to deliver on three. I can think of nothing more snoreworthy than an afternoon of Jack High.
The requests on the food front came thick and fast, but the longest and loudest was for soup. Lots of hot and steaming soup. It was the perfect excuse to try out a Jamie Oliver recipe I snaffled while waiting endlessly in my doctor's surgery a few weeks back.
It's called a brown windsor soup. Not particularly appetising is it. I don't know about you but any food described as 'brown' just screams bleeech. Which is odd because there are lots of delectable brown coloured foods - chocolate being the prime example.
Not to mention this soup which is quite simply delicious. It's flavour is deep and rich and hearty. No doubt ably assisted by this little number - Vegemite.
As you probably know, Vegemite is a peculiarly Australian staple. Unpalatable to many foreigners but much loved by ourselves. I practically existed on this stuff as a child and I still eat it almost every day. It's usually spread on toast, sandwiches or cracker biscuits, but it can also find its way into gravies, soups, casseroles.
Marmite is an (albeit inferior ;-}) alternative for those in the UK and NZ. However, for those elsewhere, I'm not sure what the options are. There's nothing else quite like Vegemite. Unless it's Promite and you can only get that in Australia as well.
Brown Windsor Soup
(adapted from Delicious Magazine July 2008)
a large knob of butter
500g chuck steak, diced
1 tbspn vegemite or marmite
splash worcestershire sauce
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
sprig of rosemary
1 tbspn plain flour
2 litres beef stock
1/3 cup pearl barley
Melt butter and add olive oil in a large saucepan. Lightly brown the meat and stir in the vegemite and sauce. Turn up the heat and keep stirring until all the liquid has evaporated.
Add the veggies, bay leaf and rosemary. Cover and sweat gently over a low heat for about 8 minutes until the veggies have softened.
Stir in the flour, and after about a minute add the stock. Season with pepper and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the barley and cook for about an hour and a quarter, or until soft.
Take the saucepan off the heat and discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs.
Whiz the soup with a hand held blender to allow it to thicken. Leave plenty of chunky bits.