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Queen Victoria’s Brown Windsor Soup

Brown Windsor soup is thought to have originated in the Victorian and Edwardian eras although the exact date is unclear. Anybody who happened to be at sea during the 1950s and 1960s on a British Merchant vessel will have enjoyed this soup on board. There were various soups served on the ships, creatively named by whoever happened to be doing the cooking, but Brown Windsor soup would have stood out for its unique flavour. The ingredients in this soup vary but the main ingredients, namely the beef, lamb and meaty stock, make it a rich, hearty dish. If you think soup cannot be filling, try this recipe and you will see that it can.

This tasty English soup makes a warming lunch or you could serve it for dinner with bread rolls on the side. If you want to serve it as a starter recipe, then it will serve 8 instead of 4 people. Follow up with poultry or seafood as your main dish. You will find this soup very simple to prepare since you just have to brown the meat and then stir in the other ingredients. Let it cook slowly on the hob for a couple of hours, then serve hot.

Although it is traditional to stir a tablespoon of Madeira into each portion of soup before serving, this is optional. The Madeira does go well with the beef stock though. French onion soup is often based on beef stock and has Madeira or sherry stirred into it, and the concept is similar here. Make this flavourful soup and enjoy a true taste of English history in every mouthful.

Historical Brown Windsor Soup
Summary: Here meat, vegetables and beef stock combine with bouquet garni, chili and perhaps a splash of madeira wine to make this classic, rich Edwardian/Victorian soup recipe.
Cuisine: English
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • ¼ lb (115g) stewing beef
  • ¼ lb (115g) lamb steak or mutton
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 1 peeled, sliced yellow onion
  • 1 peeled, sliced parsnip
  • 1 peeled, sliced carrot or 4 oz (115g) drained tinned kidney beans
  • 4 cups (1 litre) beef stock
  • 1 bouquet garni (or thyme, sage and bay leaves, tied with string)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • Parsley sprigs, for garnish
  • Small handful cooked white rice (optional)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) madeira wine (optional)
  1. Cut the beef and lamb into 1-inch (2½ cm) cubes and roll them in some of the flour.
  2. Melt the butter in a large pot over a low-medium heat.
  3. Fry the beef and lamb for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining flour.
  5. Cook for another minute or 2.
  6. Add the onion, parsnip and carrot or kidney beans.
  7. Stir in the beef stock.
  8. Add the bouquet garni.
  9. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.
  10. Puree the soup.
  11. Add the rice if using.
  12. Serve hot, garnished with parsley sprigs, with bread rolls on the side.
  13. It is traditional to stir a tablespoon of madeira wine into each serving at the table.

Photo Description:

Enjoy a taste of historic England by making this Brown Windsor soup. This is rich and meaty and it makes a filling lunch or dinner. You could even serve it as a starter but keep the portions small because it tends to be filling. This is a nice, meaty treat. You can use mutton or lamb in here. Mutton is old lamb. If you cook it slowly it can be just as tender as lamb, but it does tend to be stronger in flavour, so if this is not your favourite meat you might want to use regular lamb instead of mutton, or else just use beef instead.

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Christine Szalay-Kudra

Hi, my name is Christine and I would like to welcome you to TeaTime Recipes. Tea has always been a favourite of mine and I adore the tradition of serving this wonderful beverage with all kinds of little snacks both sweet and savoury. Read More