To four pounds of lean beef (the inferior parts are quite as good for this purpose) put four quarts of cold water (soft is best), wash the meat and put it in the water without salt; let it come slowly to boiling point, skim well before the agitation of the water has broken the scum, add a little salt, and a dash of cold water, to assist the scum to rise, skim again, set back and let it boil gently on one side or in one place, and not all over ("the pot should smile, not laugh"), for six or eight hours, until the meat is in rags (rapid boiling hardens the fiber of the meat and the savory flavor escapes with the steam), add a little pepper, strain into a stone jar, let it cool, and remove all the grease. This stock will keep for many days in cold weather, and from it can be made all the various kinds of soups by adding onion, macaroni, celery, asparagus, green pease, carrot, tomato, okra, parsley, thyme, summer savory, sage, and slices of lemon; many of the herbs may be first dried, then pulverized and put in cans or jars for winter use. Celery and carrot seed may be used in place of the fresh vegetables. Macaroni should be first boiled in slightly salted water, cut in pieces one or two inches long, and added a short time before serving. To prepare soup for dinner, cut off a slice of the jelly, add water, heat and serve. Whatever is added to this, such as rice, tapioca, vegetables, etc., may first be cooked before being added, as much boiling injures the flavor of the stock.
A rich stock can also be made from a shank or shin of beef (knuckle of veal is next best); cut in several pieces, crack the bones, add four quarts water, boil up quickly, skim, add salt, skim, and let boil gently until the liquor is reduced one-half; strain, cool and skim, and if boiled properly and long enough, an excellent jelly-will result. Too violent boiling makes the stock cloudy and dark. To clarify stock that has been darkened by careless skimming and improper boiling, mix one egg and shell in a gill of cold water, add a gill of the boiling soup, then stir into the soup until it boils up; remove to back of stove, and let stand until the white and shell of the egg have collected the particles that color the soup, and strain once or twice until it looks clear. Stock should never be allowed to stand and cool in the pot in which it is cooked; pour into an earthen dish, let stand to cool uncovered, when all the fat should be removed and saved to clarify for drippings; the stock is then ready for use as wanted for soups or gravies. The flavor of stock may be varied by using in it a little ham, anchovy, sausage, sugar, or a calf's foot. Sprigs of herbs, and whole spices may be used in seasoning, and afterward strained out. Delicate flavors should be added just before serving, as boiling evaporates them. Stock made from meat without bone or gristle will not jelly, but will taste very like good beef-tea. Never boil vegetables with stock, as they will cause it to become sour.
An economical soup-stock may be made of steak or roast-beef bones, after cooking, adding a little piece of fresh meat, or none at all, and allowing it to simmer at least five hours; strain, remove all fat the next day, and it will be ready for use.