26-Jun, Saturday, 9:08 a.m. Good morning! I have just completed what I consider Stage One of Portable Soup, which took twelve hours (largely unattended simmering…okay, you caught me, I slept through most of it). This recipe has intrigued me for months, since it aims to help the cook produce highly condensed soup that can be diluted and used later–sort of a proto-bouillon. Stage one was very reminiscent of making stock, except for the overnight simmering instead of five hours.
The result was a golden, slightly viscous liquid that was very similar to the stocks I’ve been making. My next step is to let it sit in the fridge for 4-6 hours until the fat settles out, and then back to boiling. I’ll let you know how it’s going.
27-Jun, Sunday, 12:16 p.m.
Well, after many hours of soup-reducing toil, we have results. Are they the proper results? I am unsure.
Stage Two commenced Saturday afternoon after I entered the original post above. I removed my large pot of strained broth from the refrigerator and skimmed off much of the still-liquidy fat that had risen to the top. Then I started to boil. And boil, and boil, and BOIL. Beeton’s called for eight hours of boiling, which I thought sounded a little excessive (which, admittedly, is keeping with the spirit of this entire weekend’s work) so I kept an eye on things.
The broth had boiled down about as low as I felt comfortable letting it go over open heat in about two hours, and the reduction was maybe one-sixth of the size it had started at in my large stockpot.
The broth at this point smelled rich and delicious, and looked like fresh espresso. My sister was over and we joked that it was so concentrated if you drank the glass you would instantly gain 600 pounds. I set it aside overnight covered so it could do its final settle and fat separation.
This morning I was greeted by a stewpot full of goo: Stage Three. I carefully peeled off the thin layer of fat and transferred the goo into the bowl I would be using as a makeshift double boiler. A double boiler is something else I have not bothered to invest in. What do you think, worth it?
After two hours of double boiler action, the soup seemed reduced down enough to maybe harden into cakes. Maybe? I was unsure.
Beeton’s suggests using them in walnut-sized chunks, so I decided to just form the like that in the first place, in this handy ice cube tray that I never use. After they cool I will pop them out and let them dry out for a while “on a flannel.” These directions are all so nebulous it makes me tear my hair.
Aren’t they lovely, though? They look like lacquer or something.
Here is Beeton’s original recipe that so far I am using with very few modifications, if any that I have modified in stages two and three:
180. INGREDIENTS – 2 knuckles of veal, 3 shins of beef, 1 large faggot of herbs, 2 bay-leaves, 2 heads of celery, 3 onions, 3 carrots, 2 blades of mace, 6 cloves, a teaspoonful of salt, sufficient water to cover all the ingredients.
Mode.—Take the marrow from the bones; put all the ingredients in a stock-pot, and simmer slowly for 12 hours, or more, if the meat be not done to rags; strain it off, and put it in a very cool place; take off all the fat, reduce the liquor in a shallow pan, by setting it over a sharp fire, but be particular that it does not burn; boil it fast and uncovered for 8 hours [two hours seemed like enough], and keep it stirred. Put it into a deep dish, and set it by for a day. Have ready a stewpan of boiling water, place the dish in it, and keep it boiling; stir occasionally, and when the soup is thick and ropy, it is done [again, another two hours]. Form it into little cakes by pouring a small quantity on to the bottom of cups or basins; when cold, turn them out on a flannel to dry. Keep them from the air in tin canisters.
Average cost of this quantity, 16s.
Note.—Soup can be made in 5 minutes with this, by dissolving a small piece, about the size of a walnut, in a pint of warm water, and simmering for 2 minutes. Vermicelli, macaroni, or other Italian pastes, may be added.
* From Beeton’s, in the preface to the soup chapter:
100. OSMAZOME is soluble even when cold, and is that part of the meat which gives flavour and perfume to the stock. The flesh of old animals contains more osmazome than that of young ones. Brown meats contain more than white, and the former make the stock more fragrant. By roasting meat, the osmazome appears to acquire higher properties; so, by putting the remains of roast meats into your stock-pot, you obtain a better flavour.