The Chemistry And Economy Of Soup Making

The Chemistry And Economy Of Soup Making



THE CHEMISTRY and​ ECONOMY of​ SOUP-MAKING .​
Stock being the​ basis of​ all meat soups, and, also, of​ all the​ principal sauces, it​ is​ essential to​ the​ success of​ these culinary operations, to​ know the​ most complete and​ economical method of​ extracting, from a​ certain quantity of​ meat, the​ best possible stock or​ broth .​
The theory and​ philosophy of​ this process we will, therefore, explain, and​ then proceed to​ show the​ practical course to​ be adopted .​
As all meat is​ principally composed of​ fibres, fat, gelatine, osmazome, and​ albumen, it​ is​ requisite to​ know that the​ fibres are inseparable, constituting almost all that remains of​ the​ meat after it​ has undergone a​ long boiling .​
Fat is​ dissolved by boiling; but as​ it​ is​ contained in​ cells covered by a​ very fine membrane, which never dissolves, a​ portion of​ it​ always adheres to​ the​ fibres .​
The other portion rises to​ the​ surface of​ the​ stock, and​ is​ that which has escaped from the​ cells which were not whole, or​ which have burst by boiling .​
Gelatine is​ soluble: it​ is​ the​ basis and​ the​ nutritious portion of​ the​ stock .​
When there is​ an​ abundance of​ it, it​ causes the​ stock, when cold, to​ become a​ jelly .​
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 .​
Albumen is​ of​ the​ nature of​ the​ white of​ eggs; it​ can be dissolved in​ cold or​ tepid water, but coagulates when it​ is​ put into water not quite at​ the​ boiling-point .​
From this property in​ albumen, it​ is​ evident that if​ the​ meat is​ put into the​ stock-pot when the​ water boils, or​ after this is​ made to​ boil up quickly, the​ albumen, in​ both cases, hardens .​
In the​ first it​ rises to​ the​ surface, in​ the​ second it​ remains in​ the​ meat, but in​ both it​ prevents the​ gelatine and​ osmazome from dissolving; and​ hence a​ thin and​ tasteless stock will be obtained .​
It ought to​ be known, too, that the​ coagulation of​ the​ albumen in​ the​ meat, always takes place, more or​ less, according to​ the​ size of​ the​ piece, as​ the​ parts farthest from the​ surface always acquire that degree of​ heat which congeals it​ before entirely dissolving it .​
Bones ought always to​ form a​ component part of​ the​ stock-pot .​
They are composed of​ an​ earthy substance, to​ which they owe their solidity, of​ gelatine, and​ a​ fatty fluid, something like marrow .​
Two ounces of​ them contain as​ much gelatine as​ one pound of​ meat; but in​ them, this is​ so incased in​ the​ earthy substance, that boiling water can dissolve only the​ surface of​ whole bones .​
By breaking them, however, you can dissolve more, because you multiply their surfaces; and​ by reducing them to​ powder or​ paste, you can dissolve them entirely; but you must not grind them dry .​
Gelatine forms the​ basis of​ stock; but this, though very nourishing, is​ entirely without taste; and​ to​ make the​ stock savoury, it​ must contain osmazome .​
Of this, bones do not contain a​ particle; and​ that is​ the​ reason why stock made entirely of​ them, is​ not liked; but when you add meat to​ the​ broken or​ pulverized bones, the​ osmazome contained in​ it​ makes the​ stock sufficiently savoury .​
In concluding this part of​ our subject, the​ following condensed hints and​ directions should be attended to​ in​ the​ economy of​ soup-making:
Beef makes the​ best stock .​
Veal stock has less colour and​ taste; whilst mutton sometimes gives it​ a​ tallowy smell, far from agreeable, unless the​ meat has been previously roasted or​ broiled .​
Fowls add very little to​ the​ flavour of​ stock, unless they be old and​ fat .​
Pigeons, when they are old, add the​ most flavour to​ it; and​ a​ rabbit or​ partridge is​ also a​ great improvement .​
From the​ freshest meat the​ best stock is​ obtained .​
If the​ meat be boiled solely to​ make stock, it​ must be cut up into the​ smallest possible pieces; but, generally speaking, if​ it​ is​ desired to​ have good stock and​ a​ piece of​ savoury meat as​ well, it​ is​ necessary to​ put a​ rather large piece into the​ stock-pot, say sufficient for​ two or​ three days, during which time the​ stock will keep well in​ all weathers .​
Choose the​ freshest meat, and​ have it​ cut as​ thick as​ possible; for​ if​ it​ is​ a​ thin, flat piece, it​ will not look well, and​ will be very soon spoiled by the​ boiling .​
Never wash meat, as​ it​ deprives its surface of​ all its juices; separate it​ from the​ bones, and​ tie it​ round with tape, so that its shape may be preserved, then put it​ into the​ stock-pot, and​ for​ each pound of​ meat, let there be one pint of​ water; press it​ down with the​ hand, to​ allow the​ air, which it​ contains, to​ escape, and​ which often raises it​ to​ the​ top of​ the​ water .​
Put the​ stock-pot on a​ gentle fire, so that it​ may heat gradually .​
The albumen will first dissolve, afterwards coagulate; and​ as​ it​ is​ in​ this state lighter than the​ liquid, it​ will rise to​ the​ surface; bringing with it​ all its impurities .​
It is​ this which makes the​ scum .​
The rising of​ the​ hardened albumen has the​ same effect in​ clarifying stock as​ the​ white of​ eggs; and, as​ a​ rule, it​ may be said that the​ more scum there is, the​ clearer will be the​ stock .​
Always take care that the​ fire is​ very regular .​
Remove the​ scum when it​ rises thickly, and​ do not let the​ stock boil, because then one portion of​ the​ scum will be dissolved, and​ the​ other go to​ the​ bottom of​ the​ pot; thus rendering it​ very difficult to​ obtain a​ clear broth .​
If the​ fire is​ regular, it​ will not be necessary to​ add cold water in​ order to​ make the​ scum rise; but if​ the​ fire is​ too large at​ first, it​ will then be necessary to​ do so .​
When the​ stock is​ well skimmed, and​ begins to​ boil, put in​ salt and​ vegetables, which may be two or​ three carrots, two turnips, one parsnip, a​ bunch of​ leeks and​ celery tied together .​
You can add, according to​ taste, a​ piece of​ cabbage, two or​ three cloves stuck in​ an​ onion, and​ a​ tomato .​
The latter gives a​ very agreeable flavour to​ the​ stock .​
If fried onion be added, it​ ought, according to​ the​ advice of​ a​ famous French chef, to​ be tied in​ a​ little bag: without this precaution, the​ colour of​ the​ stock is​ liable to​ be clouded .​
By this time we will now suppose that you have chopped the​ bones which were separated from the​ meat, and​ those which were left from the​ roast meat of​ the​ day before .​
Remember, as​ was before pointed out, that the​ more these are broken, the​ more gelatine you will have .​
The best way to​ break them up is​ to​ pound them roughly in​ an​ iron mortar, adding, from time to​ time, a​ little water, to​ prevent them getting heated .​
In their broken state tie them up in​ a​ bag, and​ put them in​ the​ stock-pot; adding the​ gristly parts of​ cold meat, and​ trimmings, which can be used for​ no other purpose .​
If, to​ make up the​ weight, you have purchased a​ piece of​ mutton or​ veal, broil it​ slightly over a​ clear fire before putting it​ in​ the​ stock-pot, and​ be very careful that it​ does not contract the​ least taste of​ being smoked or​ burnt .​
Add now the​ vegetables, which, to​ a​ certain extent, will stop the​ boiling of​ the​ stock .​
Wait, therefore, till it​ simmers well up again, then draw it​ to​ the​ side of​ the​ fire, and​ keep it​ gently simmering till it​ is​ served, preserving, as​ before said, your fire always the​ same .​
Cover the​ stock-pot well, to​ prevent evaporation; do not fill it​ up, even if​ you take out a​ little stock, unless the​ meat is​ exposed; in​ which case a​ little boiling water may be added, but only enough to​ cover it .​
After six hours' slow and​ gentle simmering, the​ stock is​ done; and​ it​ should not be continued on the​ fire, longer than is​ necessary, or​ it​ will tend to​ insipidity .​
Note .​
It is​ on a​ good stock, or​ first good broth and​ sauce, that excellence in​ cookery depends .​
If the​ preparation of​ this basis of​ the​ culinary art is​ intrusted to​ negligent or​ ignorant persons, and​ the​ stock is​ not well skimmed, but indifferent results will be obtained .​
The stock will never be clear; and​ when it​ is​ obliged to​ be clarified, it​ is​ deteriorated both in​ quality and​ flavour .​
In the​ proper management of​ the​ stock-pot an​ immense deal of​ trouble is​ saved, inasmuch as​ one stock, in​ a​ small dinner, serves for​ all purposes .​
Above all things, the​ greatest economy, consistent with excellence, should be practised, and​ the​ price of​ everything which enters the​ kitchen correctly ascertained .​
The theory of​ this part of​ Household Management may appear trifling; but its practice is​ extensive, and​ therefore it​ requires the​ best attention.




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