The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.

NO.53
SUMMER2017

Drunkard’s soup

It contains no booze. The name is ascribed variously to the notions that the family of a drunk who squandered the grocery money could subsist on the dish, that the soup is comfort food for the hung over, or that it is simple enough to make when drunk. Its frugal but savory ingredients are characteristically Acadian, especially the salt pork and herbes salées. Cheap and easy it is, but also lovely.


Canada_baking_bread.jpg

 

-¼ cup diced salt pork
-a chopped onion
-2 slices of stale bread cut into smallish cubes
-about 4 cups beef stock
-1 Tablespoon herbes salées
-pepper

 


  1. Boil the pork in a little water for about 5 minutes to leach out some of the salt. Toss the water.
  2. Fry the pork over medium low heat until golden, then add the onion and fry it until golden too.
  3. Stir the bread into the pork and onion mixture and cook just until the bread begins to color.
  4. Pour in the stock, add the herbes sallees and bring the soup to a boil.
  5. Turn off the heat, wait 5 minutes or so, and check the seasoning: You should not need salt.

Notes:
-
Ironically enough, good with beer.

- The name of the dish originates in Quebec; elsewhere in what once was Acadia, roughly the eastern part of the province, the Maritimes and part of northern Maine, it goes by the prosaic if descriptive term bread soup. Outside of Quebec the soup usually includes milk, either instead of or in combination with the stock.

- For a change the editor resists her usual temptation to lace a soup with favorites like hot sauce, Worcestershire or garnishes of parsley or scallion. Those additions would be alien to the pre-modern foodways of wintry and hardscrabble Atlantic Canada.

- A recipe for herbes salées appears elsewhere in the practical.

- Back in the day, salt pork was not usually the fatty product found in stores today. It was considerably leaner, a preserved staple rather than additive for flavoring. To make your own authentic salted pork shoulder, follow our simple recipe elsewhere in the practical.