You may have enjoyed mustard on a hotdog in the US or with a pretzel in Germany. In Belgium and the Netherlands, it’s typically enjoyed with sausage, croquettes, and cheese. However, in the country famous for its tulips and clogs, your favourite condiment is also the basis of a soup (yes, really!). Seems…interesting?
More like delicious!
Don’t let the sound of it scare you. Mosterdsoep in Dutch reads as it looks: directly translating to “mustard soup.”
A personal introduction
It’s perfect for those chilly, rainy days here in the Netherlands. You may be used to dipping bitterballen or kroketten in this yellow sauce, but having it in a soup with a (sometimes) creamy, slightly spicy taste makes mustard enjoyable in a different way. The main aspect of it is using a specific type of mustard: coarse-grain.
As an American expat, I was surprised when my also-American husband first told me about this soup. He had been coming to the Netherlands for years for work, so he had tried it before me. Now that I live here, I’m happy I am able to sample different versions of it. I’ve even made a recipe given to us by his Dutch colleague and it turned out delicious! So, let’s find out more about this intriguing part of the Netherland’s cuisine!
So…what is mosterdsoep exactly?
It’s a warm, traditional, soup with a foundation that’s based on coarse-grain mustard — importantly, made from whole mustard seeds. Why is this important? Coarse mustard has membranes of the seed in it, so it won’t be smooth and creamy.
The distinct characteristic of this soup is its spiciness, which depends on the amount and type of mustard used. Typically, the soup is started with a roux of butter, milk, and flour. Water or broth is then added, along with cream or milk to thicken it. Finally, it is then garnished with a topping such as bacon, ham, salmon, or leeks.
Pretty simple, but tasty!
Regional variations — ’cause why settle?
There are many interpretations of this soup, varying from region to region. Regions such as Groningen, Limburg, Zaanstreek, and Doesburg produce mustards with variations in flavour, coarseness, ingredients, and preparation. So, each region will have a distinct flavour in its version of the soup, depending on the mustard used.
Mustards are typically produced from yellow, brown, or black seeds which are the sharpest of the three. If you head north to the province of Groningen, you’ll often find bits of bacon and leek in the soup. The Groninger mustard is based on black mustard seeds and, additionally, vinegar contributes to its acidity, giving it a spicy flavour.
Limburg mustard is made with whole mustard seeds and has a mild flavour. In the town of Doesburg, you will find variations in their mosterdsoep, garnished with traditional bacon or an updated take with smoked salmon on top. Zaanse mustard is ground with yellow and brown mustard seeds.
Ready to try Dutch mosterdsoep?
If you’re in the Netherlands, you’re sure to be able to find this delicious soup in a restaurant. Otherwise, take a look at one of the recipes from local mustard-makers in Doesburg, Groningen, or Limburg — and let the cultural cooking journey begin!
Have you tasted Dutch mustard soup? Or ventured to make it yourself? Tell us in the comments below!
Feature Image: dedivan1923/Depositphotos