7 Habits of Weight Loss

Meat Soup

Soups made from meat require first the preparation of a special material called stock, a liquid foundation upon which to begin the soup.

Beef, veal, mutton, and poultry are all made into stock in the same manner, so that general rules for its preparation will be sufficient for all meat soups.

The principal constituents of meat and bones, the material from which stock is compounded, are fiber, albuminous elements, gelatinous substances, and flavoring matters. The albuminous elements are found only in the flesh. The gelatinous substance found in bones, skin, and tendons, is almost devoid of nutriment. In selecting material for stock, therefore, it is well to remember that the larger the proportion of lean meat used, the more nutritious will be the soup.

But little else than gelatine is obtained from the bones, and although serviceable in giving consistency, a soup made principally from bones is not valuable as a food. The amount of bone used for soup should never exceed the flesh material in weight. The bones, trimmings, and remnants of steaks, chops, and roasts may be advantageously utilized for soups. Bits of roast meat and roast gravies are especially serviceable material, since they are rich in the flavoring elements of meat. It should be remembered, however, that these flavoring matters are chiefly excrementitious or waste substances, derived from the venous blood of the animal.

The greatest care must be observed to keep the scraps perfectly sweet and fresh until needed, as stale meat is exceedingly unwholesome. If the scraps are mostly cooked meats and bones, a small portion of raw, lean meat should be used with them; it need not be of the choicest quality; tough, coarse meat, when fresh and good, can be advantageously used for soup stock.

If fresh material is to be procured, select for beef soups a piece from the shin or lower round; the same choice of pieces may be made of veal; of mutton, pieces from the forequarter and neck are best.

In preparing meat for soup, if it is soiled, scrub the outside thoroughly with a clean cloth wet in cold water, or cut away the soiled portion. Break the bones into as small pieces as convenient; cut the meat into inch dice, remove the marrow from the bones, and put it aside. If added to the stock, it will make it greasy.

Having selected proper material and prepared it for use, the next step is to extract the juices. To do this put it into cold water, bring very gradually to the boiling point,—an hour is not too long for this,—then cook slowly but continuously. In the observation of these simple measures lies the secret of success in stock-making.

The albuminous elements of the meat, which are similar in character to the white of an egg, are readily dissolved in cold or tepid water, but boiling water coagulates them. If the meat is put into boiling water, the albumen coagulates, or hardens, forming a sort of crust on the outside of the meat, which prevents the inner juices from escaping; on the contrary, if the meat is put to cook in cold water, and is gradually raised to the boiling point, the soaking and simmering will easily extract and dissolve the juices.

Salt likewise hinders the extraction of the meat juices, and should not be added to stock during its preparation.

The best utensil for use in the preparation of stock is a soup digester. This is a porcelain-lined kettle, resting on standards, with a cover fitting closely into a groove, so that no steam can escape except through a valve in the top of the cover. In this the meat can be placed and allowed to cook for hours without burning. An ordinary granite-ware kettle with tightly fitting cover set on a stove ring or brick, answers quite well. It should, however, be kept entirely for this purpose. A double boiler is also suitable.

The correct proportion of water is to be used is about one quart to each pound of meat and bones, though this will vary somewhat with the material and the length of time required for cooking. The scum which is thrown to the surface of the water during the cooking process is composed of blood and other impurities, and should be removed as rapidly as it rises. If allowed to remain after the water reaches the boiling point, it will become incorporated into the stock and injure it in flavor and wholesomeness.

If the meat and bones are well cut and broken, the juices ought to be all extracted, with proper cooking, in three or four hours. Longer cooking will render the stock thicker and more gelatinous but not more nutritious, and too long cooking will detract from its flavor. As soon as the meat will fall from the bones, the stock should be removed from the pot and strained at once.

Arrangement for Straining Stock. Arrangement for Straining Stock.

A good way to strain stock is to place a colander over an earthen crock or jar (the colander should fit inside the jar), with a cloth strainer within the colander. Then dip the contents of the stock kettle into the colander, and leave it there to drain for fifteen or twenty minutes. Do not squeeze the cloth, and when well drained, throw the scraps away.

French cooks, with their propensity for economy, sometimes select a good quality of beef, cook it so as to retain a portion of the juices in the meat, and make it serve both for preparing the soup and for boiled beef on the bill of fare. The meat is not cut up, but is heated quickly and removed as soon as tender, so that only part of the juices are extracted.

Set the stock where it will become cold. The more rapidly it cools, the more delicate will be its flavor, and the better it will keep. The fat will rise to the surface, and can be easily removed when desired. If the quantity of fat in the material used was considerable, a solid cake will cover the top. This fat, by excluding the air, helps keep the stock sweet, and should not be removed until the stock is needed.

If only a portion is to be used at one time, the remainder with the fat should be reheated and cooled, that a new crust may be formed. In winter, stock may be kept several days, if care is thus taken to reheat it. In summer, unless kept in a very cold place, it will spoil in a few hours.

Soup should never be greasy, and hence, before using the stock, every particle of the fat should be removed. To accomplish this, loosen the cake of fat from the dish with a knife, and if solid, it will sometimes come off whole; if soft, remove all that is possible without cutting into the stock, and afterwards wipe the top of the jellied stock with a cloth wrung out of very hot water, which will readily absorb any lingering portion of fat. If the stock is not jellied, skim off all the fat possible, and then turn the stock through a napkin wrung out of ice water. This will harden the grease, which will adhere to the napkin. It is always better to prepare stock long enough before it is needed to allow it to become perfectly cold; if, however, it is necessary to use the stock very soon after it is prepared, the fat may be quickly hardened by turning the stock into a dripping pan or some other shallow dish, and placing it on ice in a cool place; if there is no time for this, strain several times through a napkin wrung out of ice-cold water, removing the particles of fat each time and wringing the cloth anew before straining again. A little cold water poured into hot stock will also cause the grease to rise so that it can be easily skimmed off; but this method weakens the stock.

Stock may be prepared from one kind of meat only, or from two or more different kinds mixed together. Chicken stock is generally conceded to be better if a small portion of beef is combined with the fowl. Beef and veal are largely used together; but mutton on account of its strong flavor is better used alone.

Stock, when prepared from a single kind of meat, is termed simple stock or broth. When prepared from two or more kinds of flesh cooked together, or when stock prepared separately from different kinds of meat are mixed together, the result is termed compound stock or double broth. With either of these stocks as a foundation, an innumerable variety of soups may be prepared, either by serving them as plain broth or by the addition of some of the various grains and vegetables, the distinctive name of each soup being given it according to its principal solid ingredient.

To Clarify Soup Stock.—Having removed all the fat from the stock, add to it before reheating, the shell of an egg, and the whole of one egg well beaten, with a little cold water, for every three pints of soup. Place the soup over the fire and stir it constantly to keep the egg from setting until it is hot. Simmer for fifteen minutes, removing the scum as it rises, and strain through a flannel cloth or napkin laid in a colander. It is also a good plan to place a fine wire strainer on the napkin to catch the shells and scum. Do not squeeze the cloth or stir the liquid with a spoon to hasten the straining process. If the cloth is clogged so that the stock does not run through well, carefully change it in the colander so that the liquid will run down upon a clean portion. When strained, it may be reheated, seasoned, and served as clear soup.


RECIPES.

Barley, Rice, Sago, or Tapioca Soup.—Any kind of stock may be used in making these soups, though chicken and mutton stock are generally considered preferable. Prepare the grains, the sago, or the tapioca, by steaming or boiling till well cooked, and add to the stock, which should be at boiling temperature. Season and serve.

Caramel for Coloring Soup Brown.—Melt a half pint of sugar and one tablespoonful of water in a saucepan over the fire; stir constantly until it is of a dark brown color; then add a half pint of boiling water, simmer ten minutes, strain, and put into an air-tight can or bottle. When needed, mix such a quantity with the soup as will give the desired degree of color.

Julienne Soup.—Take an equal proportion of carrot, parsnip, turnip, celery, and string beans, cut into thin pieces of inch lengths, sufficient to make one pint. Simmer the vegetables gently in a small quantity of water until tender, but not long enough to destroy their shape. Heat a quart of clear stock to boiling, add vegetables, salt to taste, and serve.

Other vegetables, as peas, asparagus, etc. may be used in the season. Sometimes the vegetables are cut into dice or fancy shapes with a vegetable cutter. It makes little difference about the shape, so that the pieces are small and uniform in size. Such vegetables as potatoes, carrots, or turnips, when used for soups, are easiest cut, after paring in the usual manner, by taking the vegetable in the left hand, holding it on the table or board between thumb and finger, and with the right hand cutting downward in even slices not over one third of an inch wide, to within a quarter of an inch of the bottom. Turn the vegetable and repeat the process, cutting across the first slices. Again lay the vegetable on its side, and make a third series of cuts, which will divide it into cubes. If several kinds of vegetables are used, those which require a longer time for cooking should be cut into smaller pieces.

Tomato Soup.—Into two quarts of boiling beef stock stir a teaspoonful of cornstarch well braided with a little cold water, and a pint of strained, stewed tomatoes. Boil a few minutes, and serve. A teaspoonful of sugar may also be added, if desired.

White Soup.—White soups are made from veal or chicken stock, seasoned with cream, flavored with onion or celery, and thickened with cornstarch or flour.

Vermicelli or Macaroni Soups.—Drop into boiling water and cook the macaroni about one hour, the vermicelli ten minutes. Drain well, dash cold water through them to separate the pieces, which are apt to stick together, and add to boiling stock (beef and veal are preferable) in the proportion of a pint of cooked macaroni or vermicelli to a quart of soup. Salt to taste and serve.

Puree with Chicken.—Take a quart of chicken stock from which the fat has been removed. Add a stalk or two of celery cut into finger-lengths, and a slice of onion, and put to boil. Beat together the mashed yolk of two hard boiled eggs, and a half cup of sweet cream. Chop the white meat of the chicken until fine as meal and beat with the egg mixture. Add slowly a cup and a half of hot milk. Remove the celery and onion from the hot stock, and stir all together. Boil up, salt to taste, and serve. If too thick, a little more stock or milk can be added.

Tapioca Cream Soup.—Soak two tablespoonfuls of tapioca over night. Heat a quart of stock prepared from the white meat of chicken, to boiling, in a saucepan. Then stir the tapioca in gradually. Move the saucepan to the side of the range where it will simmer till the tapioca is transparent. Have ready in a large dish a mixture prepared by beating together very thoroughly the yolks of three eggs and four tablespoonfuls of sweet cream. When the tapioca is clear, remove the stock from the range and pour it very gradually onto the egg mixture, stirring briskly all the time, so that the egg will not curdle. Season with salt if desired. The soup may be returned to the stove and warmed before serving if necessary, but it must not be boiled or allowed to stand a long time.

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