Sunday, July 8, 2012

British Army Soups of the Great War


Here are several similar soup recipes of the British Army as prepared in World War 1. These versions first appeared in the 1910 edition of British military cooking manuals. More British Army soup recipes will be posted at a later date.
     In the British Army, soups were normally served for the evening meal, accompanied by bread and a cheese or simple meat dish.  Soup recipes were scaled so as to provide each man with one pint (that’s an Imperial pint, 20 fluid ounces). The pint of soup combined with 3 ounces of bread was deemed “a fairly substantial meal, suitable for men working in the open”. These soups were quite simple and easily adapted to field cooking in devices such as the Soyer’s Stove.
      By the end of the First World War, food rationing and shortages had affected even the front line soldiers’ rations. Nutrition levels were re-evaluated with the intent to eliminate excess and waste. The 1918 versions of these recipes reflected this, and the soups became somewhat “thinner”. Cooking procedures were also further simplified.
   
 Pea Soup, British Army, 1910-1917

     The mixed vegetables in these recipes were commonly carrots, parsnips or turnips, or any combination of what was available. Additional vegetables, fresh or cooked leftovers, could be added as available. The vegetables were added whole to the stock along with the peas then removed when tender and mashed or “pulped”.
   The authenticity of the finished product won’t suffer you prefer to use an immersion blender to pulp the ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings

US                               Metric                         Ingredients
64 fl oz                        1900 ml                       stock
7.5 oz                          210 g                           split peas
6.5 oz                          185 g                           mixed vegetables (carrot, turnip, parsnip)
2 oz                             60 g                             onions
2 oz                             60 g                             flour
½ tsp                           2.5 ml                          dried mint
1 tsp                            5 ml                             pepper
1 tsp                            5 ml                             salt      

Procedure:
1.      Peel the onion and vegetables. Leave whole.
2.      Rub the dried mint into a powder.
3.      Place the stock in a pot. Add the split peas and vegetables.
4.      Bring to a boil, low to a simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender.
5.      Take the vegetables out and pulp them.
6.      Mix the flour, a little cold water or stock, salt, and pepper into a smooth batter for thickening. Add the pulped vegetables to the batter and mix well together.
7.      Bring the pot to a “sharp” boil, add the thickener and stir gently until the soup comes to a boil again.
8.      Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
9.      Place a small amount or mint in the bottom of each mess tin or bowl before pouring the soup.


Lentil Soup, British Army, 1910-1917

As for Split Pea Soup, except:
Substitute for the split peas:
US                               Metric                         Ingredients
6.5 oz                           185 g                           lentils
Substitute for the dried mint:
¼ tsp                           1.5 ml                          celery seed
Proceed as for Pea Soup, except add the celery seed with the flour batter for thickening.

Pea & Lentil Soup, British Army, 1910-1917

As for Split Pea Soup, except:
Substitute for the split peas:
US                               Metric                         Ingredients
4.25 oz                        120 g                            lentils
3.2 oz                          90 g                             split peas
Substitute for the dried mint:
½ tsp                           3 ml                             dried mixed herbs (parsley, savory, thyme)

Proceed as for Pea Soup, except add the mixed herbs seed with the flour batter for thickening.

Barley Soup, British Army, 1910-1917

It is recommended to use hulled barley or pot barley. If you are using pearl barley, omit the step on soaking the barley in boiling water. For further details, please refer to the Ingredients section in the Basic Training chapter.

US                               Metric                         Ingredients
6.5 oz                          185 g                           barley
64 fl oz                        1900 ml                       beef stock
6.5 oz                          185 g                           mixed vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips)
2 oz                             60 g                             onions
2 oz                             60 g                             flour
¼ tsp                           1.5 ml                          celery seed
¼ tsp                           1.5 ml                          pepper
½ tsp                           3 ml                             salt                  

Procedure
1.      Scald the barley by pouring boiling water over it.
2.      Allow to stand for a few minutes, then drain.
3.      Proceed as for pea soup, adding the barley only after the stock has reached the boiling point.
4.   Omit the dried mint and add the celery seed with the flour batter and pulped vegetables. 

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