Medieval Recipes #6 Lombard Soup

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March 10, 2014 by phicks2012

So, I decided to try yet Another recipe from “A Boke of Gode Cookery”, and found one that looked promising at

“Lombard Soup”

PERIOD: France, 14th century | SOURCE: Le Menagier de Paris | CLASS: Authentic



Lombard Soup. When the meat is cooked, take it out and put the stock in another pot, but be careful to strain out any pot-scrapings or bits of bone; then have egg yolks beaten for a long time with verjuice and powdered spices, and pour into the pot from above while stirring, then make your soup.

2 pounds chicken, beef, pork, or other meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 C chicken or other stock
6 egg yolks
1/2 tsp wine vinegar
1/2 tsp white grape juice
1/4 tsp each black pepper and powdered ginger
1/8 tsp mace
Salt to taste

1. In a large pot, over medium heat, bring stock to a boil, add cut-up meat, return to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for twenty minutes, or until meat is cooked through. Remove from heat. Remove meat from stock and set aside.
2. In a bowl, beat together egg yolks, vinegar, grape juice and spices.

3. Return stock to a boil, and, while stirring steadily, pour the egg mixture into the pot. Return meat to the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for five to ten minutes. Serve in individual bowls.

Serves four to six.


This seems to be the basic Soup (or Bruet) Lombard, of which all other versions are elaborations. I have substituted wine vinegar and grape juice for verjuice, and use my personal taste to blend the powdered spices.


This has been an unusually cold winter, as my heating bills and two ice/snow storms will attest, so hot soup has been a tempting alternative to more usual fare.

This was simple to make, and since the recipe didn’t specify what sort of meat to use, I had lots of options.

I had a chunk of venison in the freezer that needed using and weighed in at around two pounds, so I thawed it out and then stewed the whole piece in a large pot to create my own stock. Once that was done, I removed the meat from the pot and let it cool, straining the brothe (as the original recipe dictates) to remove any unwanted bits.

Four cups of stock didn’t seem to me to be enough to use with 2 pounds of venison, especially if the result was going to be a “soup” rather than a “stew”, but I followed the recipe — except that I added a bit of beef bouillon the to brothe to make it just a bit richer.

I cut up the cooled venison, and, in a bowl, I beat together the egg yolks, vinegar, fruit juice (I wasn’t going to buy a whole bottle of grape juice just to get a 1/2 Teaspoon of the stuff, so I used some cran-pomegranate jouice I had on hand) and spices. I then brought the stock back up to a boil, and, while stirring steadily, poured the egg mixture into the pot. After that, I returned the meat to the pot, reduced the heat, and simmered for ten minutes, as instructed.

While this is called “Lombard Soup”, it really is, when prepared according to the recipe. more of a stew by my own modern standards.

A brief digression:

According to an article by Eileen Goltz in the Ft. Watne Journal Gazette at

To recognize the difference between a soup and stew you probably should define each first. A soup is typically any combination of meats or vegetables cooked in liquid. Most soups have a thin water-based (or juice- or milk-based) broth. Soups are typically served in a bowl, can be cooked or uncooked, be served hot or cold and if you’re using fruit, they can be served as a dessert.

Stews are thicker and could, if you want, be described as really thick soups. Stews often are thickened with potatoes and always served hot. The liquid in a stew is minimal to the point of being more a gravy than a broth. In reality, a stew is usually considered a main dish and soup a first course. Stew ingredients should be chunkier than a soup’s.

To me, the key difference between soup and stew is the amount of time you need to cook them. Stews usually require a slow, (oven, cook top or crock pot) low-temperature cook. Soups are quicker to cook at higher temperatures (cook top or crock pot) and rely on herbs, spices and garnishes to create their unique and deep flavors.


So, since this wasn’t slow-cooked, maybe it IS a soup!! But back to the recipe at hand!!

My focus group (i.e. captive housemates) tried some of this as well, and we all found it fairly good, though not exceptional. The egg mixture did not blend smoothly despite some serious stirring as it was being poured in, and (for those of you who are Southern) the broth looked as though it had grits floating in it. Also, the soup did not really have much of a distinctive flavor, aside from the meat, until it cooled.

I might have cooked the meat longer to make it more tender and to give the stock a better chance of reducing and having a stronger flavor, but if I try this with chicken or with beef in the future, I’ll probably use tenderer cuts or types of meat and commercially sold chicken or beef stock to correct this problem. I also suspect that had I pre-cut the meat and seared it first the flavor might also have been improved, and that this soup would have been better with fresh rather than frozen venison, but short of running out to shoot one of the deer leaving tracks in my yard I think I made the best of it. Venison was a fairly common period meat in a time when wild game made up a far higher percentage of the meat diet than it does today, so it was even pretty much authentic. It’s not, after all, like I was using Beefalo.

On the up-side, we noticed that as the soup cooled the flavor improved and the spices could better be tasted, and this was a pleasant surprise. In any case, this was a quick and simple recipe, probably worth remembering (with a bit of tweaking) when some sort of meat or poultry needs using in the future, but not a dish I’d plan on using for company.

Lombard Soup 02-14-14


By the way, I tried scrambling the egg whites for breakfast so that they wouldn’t be wasted (since I had no immediate use for meringue). I don’t recommend that. Most of the flavor I associate with eggs is apparently found (along with the cholesterol) in the yolks, so while egg whites do have their uses I would NOT number scrambled eggs among them.

‘Nuff said!


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March 2014


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