As I have said before, I do not pretend to give many recipes, only to tell you how to succeed with the recipes given in other books. I shall, therefore, only give one recipe which I know is a novelty and one for the foundation of all soups. In one sense I have done the latter already. The stock for glaze is an excellent soup before it is reduced; but I will also give Jules Gouffe’s method of making pot-au-feu, it being a most beautifully clear soup.
It often happens, however, that you have sufficient stock from bones, trimmings of meat, and odds and ends of gravies, which may always be turned to account; but the stock from such a source, although excellent, will not always be clear, therefore, you must proceed with it in the following manner, unless you wish to use it for thick soup:
Make your stock boiling hot and skim well; then have ready the whites of three eggs (I am supposing you have three quarts of stock-one egg to a quart), to which add half a pint of cold water; whisk well together; then add half a pint of the boiling stock gradually, still whisking the eggs; then stir the boiling stock rapidly, pouring in the whites of eggs, etc:, as you do it stir quickly till nearly boiling again, than take it from the fire, let remain till the whites of eggs separate, than strain through a clean, fine cloth into a basin. This rule once learned will clear every kind of soup or jelly.
There are many people who are good cooks, yet fail in clear soup, which is with them semi-opaque while it should be like sherry. The cause of this opacity is generally quick boiling while the meat is in. This gives it a milky appearance. After the stock is once made and clear, quick boiling will do no harm, but of course wastes the soup, unless resorted to for the purpose of making it stronger.
A word here about coloring soup:
Most persons resort to burnt sugar, and very carefully used, it is not at all bad makeshift. But how often have we a rich-looking soup put before us, the vermicelli appearing to repose under a lake of strong russet bouillon, but which, on tasting, we find suggestive of nothing but burnt sugar and salt, every bit of flavor destroyed by the acrid coloring.
Sometimes stock made by the recipe for pot-au-feu requires no color; this depends on the beef; but usually all soup is more appetizing in appearance for a little browning, and for this purpose I always use burnt onions in preference to anything else. If you have none in store when the soup is put on, put a small onion in the oven (or the back of the stove; should you be baking anything the odor would taint); turn it often till it gets quite black, but not charred. Then put it to the soup; it adds a fine flavor as well as color, and you need not fear overdoing it.
Soup that is to be reduced must be very lightly salted; for this reason salt is left out altogether for glaze, as the reduction causes the water only to evaporate, the salt remains.
GOUFFE’S POT-AU-FEU. Four pounds of lean beef, six quarts of water, six ounces of carrot, six of turnip, six of onions, half an ounce of celery, one clove, salt.
Put the meat on in cold water, and just before it comes to the boil skim it, and throw in wineglass of cold water, skim again , and, when it is “on the boil” again throw in another wineglass of cold water; do this two or three times. The object of adding the cold water is to keep it just off the boil until all the scum has risen, as the boiling point is when it comes to the surface, yet once having boiled, the scum is broken up, and the soup is never so clear. The meat must simmer slowly, not boil, for three hours before the vegetables are added, then for a couple of hours more.
It is necessary to be very exact in the proportions of vegetables; but of course, after having weighed them for soups once or twice, you will get to know about the size of a carrot, turnip etc., that will weight six ounces. The exact weight is given until the eye is accustomed to it. This soup strained, and boiled down to one half, becomes CONSOMME.
CELERY CREAM. Is a most delicious and little known white soup, and all lovers of good things will thank me for introducing it.
Have some nice veal stock, or the water in which chickens have been boiled, reduced till it is rich enough, will do, or some very rich mutton broth, but either of the former are preferable; then put on a half cup of rice in a pint of rich milk, and grate into the white part and root of two heads of celery. Let the rice milk cook very slowly at the back of the stove, adding more milk before it gets all to stiff; when tender enough to mask through a coarse sieve or fire colander add it to the stock, which must have been strained and be quite free from sediment, seasons with salt and a little bit of white pepper or cayenne, boil all together gently a few minutes. It should look like rich cream, and be strongly flavored with celery. Of course the quantity of rice, milk and celery must depend on the quantity of stock you have. I have given the proportion for one quart, which, with the milk, etc., added, would make about three pints of soup.