Cut a knuckle of veal, or a neck of mutton into small pieces, and put them, with the bones broken up, into a large stew-pan. Add the meat sliced from a hock or shank of ham, a quarter of a pound of butter, two large onions sliced, a bunch of sweet herbs, and a head of celery cut small. Cover the pan closely, and set it without any water over a slow fire for an hour or more, to extract the essence from the meat. Then skim it well, and pour in four quarts of boiling water, and let it boil gently till all the meat is reduced to rags. Strain it, set it again on the fire, and add a quarter of a pound of vermicelli, which has first been scalded in boiling water. Season it to your taste with a little cayenne pepper, and let it boil five minutes. Lay a large slice of bread in the bottom of your tureen, and pour the soup upon it.
For the veal or mutton you may substitute a pair of large fowls cut into pieces; always adding the ham or a few slices of bacon, without which it will be insipid. Old fowls that are fit for no other purpose will do very well for soup.