Game Soup

This is a huntsman’s soup that is more like a pottage or stew than a soup, and makes a complete and excellent meal requiring nothing but bread, red wine or ale, and some cheese and fruit to follow. It is best to make the soup the day before or early in the morning of the day it is wanted, as it must have time to get cold before skimming. Small dumplings or squares of fried bread can be added, if liked.

Ingredients

  • lb ( kg) venison with some bone or 1 partridge, 1 pigeon and 1 wild duck, or 1 game bird and 1 fresh rabbit
  • 2 large onions, stuck with 8 cloves
  • 3 carrots, scraped and sliced
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 1 head celery, trimmed, washed and cut in 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths
  • 6 mushrooms
  • 4 parsley sprigs and 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 4 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoons salt
  • 3 quarts (2.8 litres) stock
  • 3 oz (90 g) gammon, cut in strips
  • Butter
  • ½ cup (1.2 dl) medium sherry or 4 tablespoons cooking brandy

Method

Cut all the best part of the venison into very small slices or carve all the best meat from the birds or the rabbit and reserve.

Put the bone or carcasses into a very large saucepan or casserole, on a bed of the prepared vegetables. Place the herbs (but not the finely chopped parsley) on top. Mix the spices and seasonings into the stock and pour it into the pan. Bring to the boil, skim and then simmer, covered, for 3 hours. At the end of this time, strain the stock and allow it to become quite cold.

Remove all the fat from the top of the stock and check seasoning. One and a quarter hours before the soup is required, fry all the meat lightly in a little butter and add to the stock with the sherry or brandy. Bring the soup to the boil and simmer for 1 hour.

When serving, see that each plateful contains some of the meat and is garnished with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

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