Clear, Pale Gravy Soup or Consommé


Rub a deep stewpan or soup-pot with butter, and lay into it three quarters of a pound of ham freed entirely from fat, skin, and rust, four pounds of leg or neck of veal, and the same weight of lean beef, all cut into thick slices; set it over a clear and rather brisk fire, until the meat is of a fine amber-colour; it must be often moved, and closely watched, that it may not stick to the pan, nor burn. When it is equally browned, lay the bones upon it, and pour in gradually four quarts of boiling water. Take off the scum carefully as it rises, and throw in a pint of cold water at intervals to bring it quickly to the surface. When no more appears, add two ounces of salt, two onions, two large carrots, two turnips, one head of celery, a faggot of savoury herbs, a dozen cloves, half a teaspoonful of whole white pepper, and two large blades of mace. Let the soup boil gently from five hours and a half to six hours and a half: then strain it through a very clean fine cloth, laid in a hair sieve. When it is perfectly cold, remove every particle of fat from the top; and, in taking out the soup, leave the sediment untouched; heat in a clean pan the quantity required for table, add salt to it if needed, and a few drops of chili or of cayenne vinegar. Harvey’s sauce, or very fine mushroom catsup, may be substituted for these. When thus prepared the soup is ready to serve: it should be accompanied by pale sippets of fried bread, or sippets à la reine. (At tables where English modes of service entirely prevailed, clear gravy-soup, until very recently, was always accompanied by dice, or sippets as they are called, of delicately toasted bread. These are now seldom seen, but some Italian paste, or nicely prepared vegetable, is served in the soup instead). Rice, macaroni in lengths or in rings, vermicelli, or nouilles, may in turn be used to vary it; but they must always be boiled apart, till tender, in broth or water, and well drained before they are slipped into it. The addition of young vegetables, too, and especially of asparagus, will convert it into superior spring-soup; but they, likewise, must be separately cooked.