In whatever vessel soup is boiled, see that it be perfectly clean, and let the inside of the cover and the rim be equally so. Wash the meat, and prepare the vegetables with great nicety before they are laid into it; and be careful to keep it always closely shut when it is on the fire. Never, on any account, set the soup by in it, but strain it off at once into a clean pan; and fill the stock-pot immediately with water: pursue the same plan with all stewpans and saucepans directly they are emptied.
Skim the soup thoroughly when it first begins to boil, or it can never afterwards be rendered clear; throw in some salt, which will assist to bring the scum to the surface, and when it has all been taken off, add the herbs and vegetables; for if not long stewed in the soup, their flavour will prevail too strongly. Remember, that the trimmings, and especially the bones of fresh meat, the necks of poultry, the liquor in which a joint has been boiled, and the shank-bones of mutton, are all excellent additions to the stock-pot, and should be carefully reserved for it.
Let the soup heat gradually over a moderate fire, and after it has been well skimmed, draw it to the side of the stove and keep it simmering softly, but without ceasing, until it is done; for on this, as will hereafter be shown, its excellence principally depends. Every good cook understands perfectly the difference produced by the fast boiling, or the gentle stewing of soups and gravies, and will adhere strictly to the latter method.
Pour boiling water, in small quantities at first, to the meat and vegetables of which the soup is to be made when they have been fried or browned; but otherwise, add cold water to the meat.
Unless precise orders to the contrary have been given, onions, eschalots, and garlic, should be used for seasoning with great moderation always; for not only are they very offensive to many eaters, but to persons of delicate habit their effects are sometimes extremely prejudicial; and it is only in coarse cookery that their flavour is allowed ever strongly to prevail.
A small proportion of sugar, about an ounce to the gallon, will very much improve the flavour of gravy-stock, and of all rich brown soups; it may be added also to some others with advantage; and for this, directions will be given in the proper places.
Two ounces of salt may be allowed for each gallon of soup or broth in which large quantities of vegetables are stewed; but an ounce and a half will be sufficient for such as contain few or none; it is always easy to add more if needful, but oversalting in the first instance is a fault for which there is no remedy but that of increasing the proportions of all the other ingredients, and stewing the whole afresh, which occasions needless trouble and expense, even when time will admit of its being done.
As no particle of fat should be seen floating on your soups when they are sent to table, it is desirable that the stock should be made the day before it is wanted, that it may become quite cold, when the fat may be entirely cleared off without difficulty.
When cayenne pepper is not mixed with rice-flour, or with any other thickening-, grind it down with the back of a spoon, and stir a little liquid to it before it is thrown into the stewpan, as it is apt to remain in lumps, and to occasion great irritation of the throat when swallowed so.
Serve. not only soups and sauces, but all your dishes, as hot as possible.