Pheasant Soup

Ingredients

  • Pheasants, 2: roasted 20 to 25 minutes.
  • strong beef broth, or stock, 5 pints: 2 to 3 hours.
  • Forcemeat-balls: breasts of pheasants, half as much dry bread-crumbs and of butter, salt, mace, cayenne
  • yolks of 2 or 3 eggs (and at choice 3 or 4 boiled eschalots).

Method

Half roast a brace of well-kept pheasants, and flour them rather thickly when they are first laid to the fire. As soon as they are nearly cold take all the flesh from the breasts, put it aside, and keep it covered from the air; carve down the remainder of the birds into joints, bruise the bodies thoroughly, and stew the whole gently from two to three hours in five pints of strong beef broth; then strain off the soup, and press as much of it as possible from the pheasants. Let it cool; and in the mean time strip the skins from the breasts, mince them small, and pound them to the finest paste, with half as much fresh butter, and half of dry crumbs of bread; season these well with cayenne, sufficiently with salt, and moderately with pounded mace and grated nutmeg, and add, when their flavour is liked, three or four eschalots previously boiled tender in a little of the soup, left till cold, and minced before they are put into the mortar. Moisten the mixture with the yolks of two or three eggs, roll it into small balls of equal size, dust a little flour upon them, skim all the fat from the soup, heat it in a clean stewpan, and when it boils throw them in and poach them from ten to twelve minutes, but first ascertain that the soup is properly seasoned with salt and cayenne. We have recommended that the birds should be partially roasted before they are put into the soup-pot, because their flavour is much finer when this is done than when they are simply stewed; they should be placed rather near to a brisk fire that they may be quickly browned on the surface without losing any of their juices, and the basting should be constant. A slight thickening of rice-flour and arrow-root can be added to the soup at pleasure, and the forcemeat-balls may be fried and dropped into the tureen when they are preferred so. Half a dozen eschalots lightly browned in butter, and a small head of celery, may also be thrown in after the birds begin to stew, but nothing should be allowed to prevail over the natural flavour of the game itself; and this should be observed equally with other kinds, as partridges, grouse, and venison.

Obs.—The stock may be made of six pounds of shin of beef, and four quarts of water reduced to within a pint of half. An onion, a large carrot, a bunch of savoury herbs, and some salt and spice should be added to it: one pound of neck of veal or of beef will improve it.

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