All good soups start with lean, juicy beef, mutton and veal. It is best to buy the freshest pieces and those that are rich in succulence. They are less good if they have been stored for too long. Fat is also not well-suited to making them.
It is important to balance the ingredients so that one flavour does not dominate the other, and that all of the components of the soup are harmoniously combined. This requires that roots and herbs be cleaned thoroughly and that water is proportioned according to the amount of meat and other ingredients.
A quart of water can be used to cook a pound meat in soups. Gravies require half that amount. Gentle simmering or stewing is the best way to make soups and gravies. Although it is obvious that soups are best made in well-closed containers, you can get a better taste by allowing the contents to breathe occasionally. Soups can be made in three to six hours and taste better if prepared the day before.
The soup will be more liquid when it is cold.
A tamis strainer is the best. If the soup is being strained hot, let the cloth or tamis soak in cold water before soaking. Clear soups should be transparent. Thickened soups should have the consistency of cream. Potato-mucilage and arrow-root are all used to thicken soups and gravies.
It is a great addition to the soup to add a piece of boiled beef, mashed to a pulp with some butter and flour. If the soup seems too thin or weak, it is best to remove the cover from the boiler and allow the contents to boil until the watery parts have evaporated. Or, you can add some of these thickening ingredients.
Soups and gravies should be heated up daily in hot weather. If you live in temperate climates, it may suffice to heat your soups and gravies every other day.
For making soups or gravies, you will need a variety of herbs and vegetables. These include: Scotch barley and pearl barley; wheat flour; oatmeal; bread-raspings; peas, beans; rice, pasta, macaroni, isinglass; potato-mucilage. Champignons, parsnips. carrots. beetroot. turnips. garlic. shallots.
To enhance the flavour and colour of brown soups and sauces, fry slices of onions in butter and flour until they are golden. Then, use a sieve to strain the onion.
The onion’s flavour will be stronger the older it is and the drier it is. Burnet vinegar, celery, cucumber or celery-seed pounded. Although equally strong, the latter does not have the delicate sweetness of fresh vegetables. If used as a substitute for fresh vegetables, it should be flavored with a little sugar.
Parsley, common-thyme and lemon thyme as well as orange thyme and orange thyme are all good options. Fresh green basil is hard to find and the fine flavour of the leaves is quickly lost. Wine is the best way to preserve the extract.
Bay-leaves, tomato and chervil, chervil and burnet, allspice and cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove are all used for seasoning soups.
This gives the lemon a more refined flavour and is milder. Combining these ingredients with wine, mushroom sauce, Harvey’s sauce and tomato sauce in different proportions can be combined with other ingredients to create an almost limitless number of delicious soups. Soups are not meant to be the main course of a meal and should not be flavoured with sauces that are just for flavor.