Take a shin or leg of beef that has been newly killed; the fore leg is best, as there is the most meat on it. Have it cut into three pieces, and wash it well. To each pound allow somewhat less than a quart of water; for instance, to ten pounds of leg of beef, nine quarts of water is a good proportion. Put it into a large pot, and add half a table-spoonful of salt. Hang it over a good fire, as early as six o'clock in the morning, if you dine at two. When it has come to a hard boil, and the scum has risen, (which it will do as soon as it has boiled,) skim it well. Do not remove the lid more frequently than is absolutely necessary, as uncovering the pot causes the flavour to evaporate. Then set it on hot coals in the corner, and keep it simmering steadily, adding fresh coals so as to continue a regular heat.
About nine o'clock, put in four carrots, one parsnip, and a large onion cut into slices, and four small turnips, and eight tomatas, also cut up; add a head of celery cut small. Put in a very small head of cabbage, cut into little pieces. If you have any objection to cabbage, substitute a larger proportion of the other vegetables. Put in also a bunch of sweet marjo ram, tied up in a thin muslin rag to prevent its floating on the top.
Let the soup simmer unceasingly till two o'clock, skimming it well: then take it up, and put it into a tureen. If your dinner hour is later, you may of course begin the soup later; but it will require at least eight hours' cooking; remembering to put in the vegetables three hours after the meat.
If you wish to send the meat to table, take the best part of it out of the soup, about two hours before dinner. Have ready another pot with a dozen tomatas and a few cloves. Moisten them with a little of the soup, just sufficient to keep them from burning. When the tomatas have stewed down soft, put the meat upon them, and let it brown till dinner time over a few coals, keeping the pot closely covered: then send it to table on a dish by itself. Let the remainder of the meat be left in the large pot till you send up the soup, as by that time it will be boiled to rags and have transferred all its flavour to the liquid, which should be served up free from shreds.
This soup will be greatly improved by the addition of a few dozen ochras cut into very thin slices, and put in with the other vegetables. You may put Lima beans into it, green peas, or indeed any vegetables you like: or you may thicken it with ochras and tomatas only.
Next day, take what is left of the soup, put it into a pot, and simmer it over hot coals for half an hour: a longer time will weaken the taste. If it has been well made and kept in a cool place, it will be found better the second day than the first.
If your family is very small, and the leg of beef large and the season winter, it may furnish soup for four successive days. Cut the beef in half; make soup of the first half, in the manner above directed, and have the remainder warmed next day: then on the third day make fresh soup of the second half.
We have been minute in these directions; for if strictly followed, the soup, though plain, will be found excellent.
If you do not intend to serve up the meat separately, break to pieces all the bones with a mallet or kitchen cleaver. This, by causing them to give out their marrow, etc., will greatly enrich the liquid. Do this, of course, when you first begin the soup. It is a slovenly and vulgar practice to send soup to table with shreds of meat and bits of bone in it.