It’s a condiment, it’s a soup, it’s a taste sensation: finest
whole-grain Dutch mustard soup warms the cockles (and tongue)
like only a steaming serving of spice-spiked chowder can.

Mustard as a condiment harks back to Roman times, when seeds were ground and blended with young wine (‘must’) for a fiery flavour, hence the Latin mustum ardens – ‘burning must’ – that’s reputedly the origin of the English word mustard. The tongue-tickler has been made in the Netherlands since at least 1457 in Doesburg, and is put to excellent use in this rich, thick, creamy broth – central heating in a bowl.

You’ll need
1 medium-sized onion, peeled
and finely chopped
50g (2oz) butter
50g (2oz) sifted flour
4 cups (1L) stock (chicken or
1 tbs grainy mustard (ideally
from Groningen)
1 tbs smooth mustard
½ tsp mustard seeds
Scant ½ cup (100mL) cream
(or crème fraîche)
Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly chopped chives
150g (5oz) bacon, fried in
crispy bits
Crusty rolls or bread to serve

Cooking Method
1 In a saucepan, slowly fry the onion in the butter until softened and translucent.
2 Stir in the flour to form a paste.
3 Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly to prevent lumps forming and to create a smooth liquid.
4 Add the mustards and mustard seeds.
5 Simmer on a low heat for a few minutes, adding the cream just before serving.
6 Season to taste.
7 Ladle into bowls, scatter over the chopped chives and bacon bits and serve with crusty rolls or bread.
TIP For extra richness, cream cheese (smeerkaas) can be
added to the mixture before the final heating. Finely chopped
chillies add extra potency – if you feel it’s needed!

Tasting notes
The wind blows chill along the canal as sunlight glints off the ice. Shivering, you spot a cafe and duck inside; the cosy atmosphere envelops you in a warm hug of gezelligheid. There’s one thing on your mind, and you want it in your belly: mosterdsoep. You’ve just time for a sip of jenever (Dutch gin) before a steaming bowl appears, chives floating on its golden surface. Liberally sprinkling spekjes (crispy bacon bits), you gingerly sip a spoonful, savouring the smooth richness. A tickle teases your nostrils as the heat of the mustard sneaks up on you. It’s a strange sensation, and weirdly addictive – you can’t tell if it hurts or excites. Best try another mouthful to be sure…

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