What is Worcestershire sauce?
- Worcestershire sauce was invented by chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins in England in 1835, at the behest of a local nobleman. When they tasted the sauce, they found it horrendous, so they sealed it in a jar and left it in their basement. A few years later, they decided to taste it again; to their amazement, the sauce had fermented and aged into a delicious and complex condiment. Lea & Perrins have been making Worcestershire sauce ever since.
- There are some vegan and vegetarian versions of Worcestershire sauce available today, but the standard sauce contains vinegars, fermented onions, fermented garlic, molasses, tamarind paste, salt, sugar, cured anchovies and seasonings. Because of the cured anchovies, it is unsuitable for vegetarians.
How can I use Worcestershire sauce?
- Due to its fermented ingredients and cured anchovies, Worcestershire sauce is an umami powerhouse, and combined with its sweetness and acid this makes it rich and complex. You can use Worcestershire sauce to add flavour to anything in much the same way you’d use soy sauce or fish sauce.
- It’s a key ingredient in the classic Bloody Mary cocktail and can add amazing depth of flavour to chilli con carne, Bolognese sauce, stocks, broths, braises or marinades for beef, lamb, chicken, duck or pork. Don’t stop there — try adding it to creamy pie fillings, seafood chowders or salad dressings. Deputy Editor Jocelyn swears by adding it to homemade Marie Rose sauce, baked beans, sautéed Brussels sprouts and cheese toasties.