Like most folks, both me and Cosmin have tasted plenty of soups with a small amount of flour in them, but until we started TheTasteTrail we thought that the role of flour was exclusively that of a thickening agent. Then we entered the world of European soups, where flour is often used to add or enhance the flavour as well.
We cooked a Belarusian soup called жур суп in which an oat flour and water concoction is left to soak overnight before it is sieved and cooked up with ham and stock creating a sweet soup with almost a gelatinous texture.
We also made a Romanian soup called ciorbă de salată verde, a crazy (but delicious) creation which includes lettuce, sausages, omlette and wheat flour dry roasted in a frying pan until it starts to brown and you can smell toast.
It really does feel like Europe has been gently acquainting us with the concept of flour as a flavour so that when we finally arrived at Switzerland we wouldn't bat an eyelid at cooking a soup where it truly is the star ingredient. Like seriously, the gruyere and croutons are just to garnish.
Just chucking plain flour in your soup in these quantities would result in a disgusting gooey wallpapery sludge, you need to actually do stuff to the flour to bring out the flavour; in the case of basler mehlsuppe the stuff did doned to the flour is roasting it in the oven. Top tip, do make sure to keep an eye on it and stir it regularly during cooking to ensure an even bake, this will stop you from ending up with a bitter soup.
- 100g plain flour
- 1 carrot – peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 stalks celery – roughly chopped
- 1 parsnip – roughly chopped
- 1 onion – peeled and roughly chopped
- 300g beef bone
- 65g butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1.5 litres water
- 10 tbsp red wine
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- Gruyere cheese (grated) to serve
NUTRITIONAL CONTENT PER PORTION
- Calories | 270
- Fat | 19.7
Serves | 6
Prep Time | 10 minutes
Cooking Time | 2 hours (although if you cook the soup at the same time you bake the flour you could easily get cooking time down to 1 hour 5 minutes).
- Spread the flour out on a baking tray and bake in a preheated 175°c for about an hour until dark brown. Stir regularly to ensure it is cooked evenly. Sieve and allow to cool.
- In a large heavy based pan add the carrot, celery, onion, parsnip and bones, bay leaves, peppercorns and water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables, spices and bones.
- In a large heavy based pan melt the butter over low heat and stir in the baked flour. Add the stock in a slow stream, whisking all the while until fully incorporated then stir in the wine.
- Bring to the boil then lower to a simmer and cook for a further 30 minutes whisking regularly to prevent the flour from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and serve with grated gruyere cheese.