Although Homemade Soups are frequently neglected on today’s menus, they are keenly appreciated whenever they appear at table. There is nothing, perhaps, more elegant for a well-planned dinner than a clear consommé or a cream soup, the choice of which would depend on the course to follow. A clear soup should precede a meal that might include a cream sauce. A cream soup should never precede a meal that includes a cream sauce; but it would be ideal before a roast, chicken, beef, steak, or the like.
There are basically three kinds of soups—these are the clear soups, cream soups, and vegetable soups. Clear soups are made with fish, poultry, or meat cooked in a broth and strained. Cream soups are nothing more than diluted white sauces to which cream and various flavors are added. Vegetable soups are peasant soups and are altogether delicious; they can be a meal in themselves.
In preparing the so-called clear soups or broths, it is important to know that bones give body to the liquids. What the body really is, is a form of gelatin. Veal bones give off the most gelatin and, therefore, give the most body to soups and broths. The reason we say “so-called clear soups or broths” is that they are not transparent and water-clear when they are first made. A basic chicken soup or beef soup—otherwise known as stock—is delicious when it is served immediately out of the kettle. But if it is to be really clear, it must be “refined” with egg white or raw meat. This is a refinement, however, that few people in this day and age care to indulge in; it simply looks more elegant but is necessary only if the soup is used for an aspic, which must be clear. There are listed below recipes for a chicken stock and a beef stock, either of which may be served as a soup or as a cooking broth.
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