Saxe-Coburg Soup and The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

Saxe-Coburg Soup (Brussels sprouts, onion, potato) Downton Abbey recipe -

In the age of tawdry TV tales of socialite housewives, and addictive televised exposes of real people’s most intimate life details it might be a surprise that an historically based BBC series on the life and loves of an Edwardian period British household has taken the U.S. by storm.  ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ is something one’s parents would be watching; or so I thought until I watched my first episode of Downton Abbey when I became immediately hooked.  The ‘cool people’ are watching and tweeting about it.  Unexpected  viewers, young, hip are completely reeled in to the rich, complex, relatable characters and real life human predicament transcending time while it tracks actual historical events.

The core story is of the mish mash of individuals comprising the elegant manor of Downtown Abbey.  Within the confines of the stately residence viewers wander amidst the distinct subcultures of the wealthy, aristocratic Crawley family and their servant staff, often overlapping each other whilst maintaining the proper boundaries of their individual stations in life….mostly.  The personal storylines remind us the human condition is timeless and independent of geography and hierarchy.  There are heroes we love and villains we loathe.  Weekly we soak in the most impeccable visual details of life in early 1900’s England through fantastically crafted costumes, room décor and outdoor scenery.  Actors such as Maggie Smith bring compelling life to each character leaving us to feel we know them and appreciate what they each bring to the sophisticated, believable tale.  One could imagine a series with this premise could feel cold and austere however BBC has done such an artful job resulting in a rapt, engaged viewing audience devoted to the individual players in the household, their life circumstance and barely able to wait until the following week for more.

Mrs. Patmore's Rosemary Oat Crackers (Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook) -
Mrs. Patmore’s Rosemary Oat Crackers. Another recipe from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook as a suggested pairing with the Saxe-Coburg Soup.

Threaded through the multi-layered plot is the food.  So much of Downton Abbey’s daily rhythm is all about the food.  Most of the interplay with the downstairs staff takes place in the kitchen while preparing food, dining together as they discuss the inner workings of the household from their vantage point or serving the upstairs family, which is done flawlessly with footman and the keen scrutinizing eye of Mr. Carson the Butler.  Lively family engagements of the upstairs family often occur over elaborately adorned formal table settings and multi course meals, everyone dressed properly for dinner and executing meals with precise ritual of a now bygone era.

The third season of Downton Abbey has completed airing in the U.K. but will be met with great anticipation of U.S. viewers this Sunday night, January 6.  In honor of that the publishers of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (by Emily Ansara Baines) are offering one cookbook for a lucky Boulder Locavore reader.

I have a review copy myself and will say I’ve pored over every recipe.  The cookbook features recipes associated with particular characters (The Dowager Countess’s Dark Chocolate Truffles, Mrs. Patmore’s Downstairs Pork Pie, Lady Sybil’s Poached Salmon with Creamy Hollandaise Sauce) as well as British favorites one would expect to be enjoyed more commonly either by the downstairs staff or the upstairs family (Bubble and Squeak, Classic Beef Wellington, Yorkshire Pudding, Downstairs Toad in the Hole).  The cookbook is neatly laid out with background information about each dish including some history, how it might have integrated into life at Downton Abbey, pairing suggestions and etiquette lessons.  I personally have made three dishes from the cookbook, all fantastic; one of which I’m sharing today, Saxe-Coburg Soup, an elegant but earthy seasonal pureed, cream soup made of Brussels sprouts, onions, and potatoes.   It was delicious and very simple to make.

Saxe-Coburg Soup (Brussels sprouts, onion, potato) Downton Abbey recipe -

Saxe-Coburg Soup

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Serving Size: 4 servings*

“Queen Victoria’s beloved consort, Prince Albert, loved Brussels sprouts. Some say this soup was developed for him, others say it was named for Queen Victoria’s oldest son. Either way, the inhabitants of Downton Abbey could honor the royal family – and impress their own esteemed guests – by offering this soup as an option during the soup course.’ – The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, chopped and blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons flour (regular or gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup sherry


  1. In a medium-large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the chopped Brussels sprouts, onion and potatoes, then cover the pot and let sweat for 15 minutes. The vegetables should not color but should soften. Stir in flour and sugar, and allow them to soften.
  2. In a small pot, mix together cream and milk. Bring to a boil, then allow to cool slightly. Add milk mixture to soup, followed by vegetable stock and sherry.
  3. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer, partially covered, for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are incredibly tender.
  4. Remove the soup and puree it in small batches with an immersion blender or food processor.
  5. Serve the soup in a classic ‘no-handled’ cream cup with saucer.


*I found the soup batch to be ample and would serve more than 4 in my humble opinion.

Recipe excerpted with permission from The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (F+W Media)

{Cookbook giveaway has ended}

Disclosure: I was provided a review copy of The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.  Commentary represents my personal beliefs.


    • says

      Oh Sally I’m so sorry; this giveaway was from 2013 and is closed as marked. The cook is available however online and I found this link for you to should you wish to purchase a copy. It’s a great program; I encourage you to watch!


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