In making soup uncooked meat should always serve as the basic element. Cracked bones of cooked game or of rare beef and mutton may be added if desired, but the juices derived from raw meat can alone be depended upon for nourishment and flavor. The meat should be chopped fine, and then placed in cold water and allowed to soak for some time. If bones are used they should be thoroughly fractured. Heat should next be gradually applied and the water slowly brought to a boil. At no stage must it be allowed to boil fast. Salt has a tendency to harden the fibres and check the flow of the juices, and therefore should not be added till the meat is thoroughly done. While boiling, keep the pot covered. When done, strain through a cullender ; and afterwards, for clear soup, through a hair sieve, or coarse bobbinet lace.
Let the tureen be kept covered until you are ready to serve the soup; then ladle it out quickly and neatly, having the soup-plates warmed in advance. In most cases soup is better on the second than on the first day ; but it should not be warmed over too quickly, or left too long upon the fire after heating.
If the object be to obtain stock for soup, boiling must be kept up for some time, so as to obtain from the meat all its gelatine, so far as possible. The hardened albuminous matter which floats in the liquid can be removed by straining, so as to leave the soup clear. There will remain in the vessel a dry fibrous mass without taste and of little nutritive value.
Soup is often looked upon as a light kind of food - useful only as a preliminary to other foods ; but in many countries it is the staple article of diet. There is no better way of economizing food. All the waste fragments of the table may be made available in this way. The French peasant has his "pot-au-feu" always ready to receive anything from which nutriment can be extracted, and makes his soup, with the addition of bread. his main sustenance.
We give below recipes for preparing some of the more desirable kinds :
Select a shin of beef of five or six pounds' weight, crack the bone, thoroughly wash and place it in a kettle to boil, with five or six quarts of cold water. Let it boil very slowly for about six hours. In this way the stock is prepared, which may be set away for use the next day. Set it on an hour before dinner, add salt and pepper, and one carrot, two turnips, two tablespoonfuls of rice or pearl barley, one head of celery and a teaspoonful of summer savory powdered fine ; the vegetables to be minced up in small pieces. After these ingredients have boiled a quarter of an hour, put in two potatoes cut up in small pieces ; let it boil half an hour longer, take the meat from the soup, and, if intended to be served with it, take out the bones and lay it closely and neatly on a dish, and garnish with sprigs of parsley.
To make a simpler stock omit the spices and herbs, also the vegetables.