Pot au Feu


For eight or ten persons take four pounds of rump of beef, or the top of the leg (the meat must be perfectly fresh for this soup), and tie the meat into a nice shape with tape; place three or four pounds of fresh beef or veal bones in the bottom of either an earthenware or a very clean tinned stewpan, lay the meat on the top of the bones and add six quarts of cold water, and a good dessertspoonful of salt; this must come most gently to the boil, and any scum arising must be care-fully removed, and a little cold water (about one pint in all) frequently added to cause the scum to rise freely. The soup should be of a golden amber colour when ready to serve. When thoroughly skimmed add to the stock two freshly cleaned carrots, one large turnip, two leeks, a small stick of celery, one parsnip, a bunch of herbs, four onions (one stuck with six cloves), and about twenty peppercorns, black and white, the herbs and spice being all tied up in a piece of muslin. The vegetables must be put in by degrees, so as not to reduce the temperature of the stock too much at once, and after the vegetables are all in, the stock must not be allowed to boil fast. Skim it well, then partly cover the pan and leave it to cook, simmering very gently on the side of the stove for about six hours. Then take up the meat carefully, remove the tape, dish it and garnish with some or the vegetables, also a purée of spinach, or, if liked, fresh braised cabbage may be used. Strain the stock after skimming off the fat, and send it to table quite boiling with some of the vegetables cut in neat squares, and round pieces of the crust of French roll, prepared as for croute au pot, either served in the soup or handed round on a plate. A pinch of sugar, and a very little salt, if needed, may be added to the soup before serving.