Dishes from the Cardinal's Table – Queen’s Soup

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"Dishes from the Cardinal's Table" is the title of a unique recipe book published by the Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest, whose period recipes give an insight into the kitchens and dining rooms of the archbishops of Esztergom in the 19th century.

This special book also includes a festive menu prepared for Archbishop János Simor's Golden Jubilee, which was also tasted by Franz Joseph. Among the dishes of the banquet, the recipe for the soup is described below:

Queen's Soup

Early French versions of 'Potage à la Reine' from the 15th and 17th centuries combined two concentrated broth-based soups, a thick mushroom/poultry pulp and an almond soup. This version is still typical in the 17th and 18th centuries. The recipe did not include cream, which is now common. From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the main ingredients of the soup were pureed chicken and/or veal, rice and cream replacing the almond paste. The dish was served on toasted bread cubes (croutons). From this point onwards, "à la Reine" will be the name given to dishes prepared with white meat (chicken breast, veal) and/or mushrooms, and the inevitable bread.


Recipe published in François Pierre de la Varenne's seminal work Le cuisinier françois (1651):

“Get almonds, grind them and set them to boil with good bouillon, with a bouquet of herbs, a bit of lemon zest, and a little breadcrumb; then season them. Take care they don’t burn, stirring them frequently, and strain them. Then get your bread and simmer it in the best bouillon, that you make like this: after you have deboned some roasted partridges or capons take the bones and pound them well in a mortar. Then get some good bouillon, cook all of the bones with a few mushrooms, and strain everything. Simmer your bread in this bouillon and, as it is simmering, sprinkle it with said almond bouillon and meat stock, then add in a little finely chopped partridge flesh or capon, always in such a way that it keeps simmering. Add almond bouillon until it is full. […] Garnish with cockscombs, pistachios, pomegranate seeds and pieces of meat, then serve.”



  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, white part, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 litre chicken stock (soup)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 g (½ tsp.) ground nutmeg
  • 1 organic lemon, grated rind
  • 100 g basmati rice (washed)
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, diced
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 120 ml (½) cup cooking cream (20%)
  • Salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Parsley or chives, pomegranate seeds


  1. 1 Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped leeks, onion and carrots.
  2. Pour the chicken stock into a saucepan. Add the grated lemon zest, bay leaves and nutmeg.
  3. Put on the stove and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
  4. Add the thoroughly washed basmati rice. Cover and simmer at a moderate temperature for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for another 15 minutes, then remove from the heat, remove the bay leaves, add the lemon juice and leave to cool.
  6. When the soup has cooled, blend the ingredients in a food processor or with a blender until smooth.
  7. Continue cooking the pureed soup over a low heat.
  8. Season with salt, pepper, grated lemon zest and nutmeg to taste.
  9. Increase the cooking temperature, but make sure the soup does not boil. If the soup is too thick, thin it with chicken stock
  10. Stir the cream into the soup just before serving.
  11. Sprinkle with parsley, chives, or pomegranate seeds to serve.

Enjoy your meal!



"Dishes from the Cardinal's Table" recipe book can be purchased: 

Christian Museum

Prímás Pince Restaurant and Wine Tunnel

Hotel Adalbert

Basilica of Esztergom

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