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Take Any Soup Up A Savory Notch With Worcestershire Sauce

worcestershire sauce in a bowl
worcestershire sauce in a bowl - Goskova Tatiana/Shutterstock

There's nothing more comforting than a bowl of hot soup. There are so many different types of soup that everyone must at least have one iteration that they enjoy eating. And there's one ingredient that can give your soup an umami boost -- Worcestershire sauce. This potent brown liquid may be better known for giving bloody marys part of their oomph, but it works wonders on soups, too.

Worcestershire sauce may be one of the most overlooked condiments. It really is an all-purpose flavor enhancer, and you probably already have a bottle of it hanging out of the door of your fridge or kicking around in your pantry. You may not know that this savory sauce got its start in Worcester, England, in the 1830s, so it's been a go-to ingredient for cooks for centuries. This fermented liquid packs a powerful punch and a teaspoon or so will add some earthy goodness to your favorite soup recipe. Plus, it's a great tool to use in heartier soups to help cut through some of the richness.

Read more: Canned Soups You Should And Shouldn't Buy

What Is Worcestershire Sauce?

bottle of Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce
bottle of Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce - Bloomberg/Getty Images

One of the best-known brands of Worcestershire sauce is Lea & Perrins, and the brand name comes from the creators of this unique concoction. Two chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, had been experimenting with sauces in the 1830s. A retired government official had asked them to recreate something he had tasted during his time in India, but he didn't like what they came up with. The two chemists put the leftover sauce in the basement and forgot about it for about a year and a half. During that time, the sauce had fermented in the barrel. The pair soon marketed the sauce, which quickly became a hit.

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The original version contained two kinds of vinegar, molasses, tamarind extract, garlic, onions, and spices. It also had what we now know to be a great source of umami flavor -- anchovies. And the sauce you know today is very similar to that original recipe.

Adding Worcestershire Sauce To Soups

hearty soup on wood table with spoon
hearty soup on wood table with spoon - NinaM/Shutterstock

What kinds of soups benefit from the umami power of Worcestershire sauce? It will work in a broad range of dishes from your favorite French onion soup to velvety tomato bisque. It definitely does a great job of amping up the meaty flavors of a beef stew as well as giving vegetable soups a flavor lift, too. Worcestershire sauce would work great in a cream of mushroom soup, too. Just add the sauce in when sauteeing the mushrooms. A dash or two would be great when building the base of other vegetable soups, too.

Generally, you want to add the Worcestershire sauce a little bit at a time to not overpower the other flavors, and you want to add it in early enough in the cooking process so that the sauce has time to meld with the other ingredients. There are also powdered versions of Worcestershire sauce available if you don't want to add any additional liquids to your soups.

When cooking for vegetarians and vegans, it's important to remember that traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, which is an animal product. Some companies make vegan versions of the sauce, so stick to that if need be. Regardless, the addition of this flavorful condiment is sure to add a little something extra to your next batch of liquid dinner.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.