Hop Top Soup

Method

‘Take a large quantity of hop tops, in April, when they are in their greatest perfection; tie them in bunches twenty or thirty in a bunch; lay them in spring-water for an hour or two, drain them well from the water, and put them to some thin pease soup; boil them well, and add three spoonfuls of the juice of onions, some pepper, and salt; let them boil some time longer; when done, soak some crusts of bread in the broth, and lay them in the tureen, then pour in the soup.’

The Lady’s Assistant by Mrs Charlotte Mason, first published 1775.

I made my version of this soup by sautéing an onion in butter then adding 1 litre ( pints) of chicken stock, a tin of peas, a large handful of hop tops and cooking gently for half an hour. When flavouring it, I used a touch of cayenne pepper and served it with large croutons.