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Flavoring, thickening, and coloring soups

The flavor of soup stock may be varied by using in it a little ham, anchovy, sausage, sugar, or a calf's foot. Herbs in the sprig, and whole spices should be used in seasoning, as they can easily be strained out. All delicate flavors, and wine, should be added to soup just before serving it, unless the contrary is expressly directed in the receipt, because boiling would almost entirely evaporate them: one gill of wine is usually allowed to every three pints of soup.

Soups which precede a full dinner should be less rich than those which form the bulk of the meal. Corn starch, arrow root, and potato flour are better than wheat flour for thickening soup. The meal of peas and beans can be held in suspension by mixing together dry a tablespoonful of butter and flour, and stirring it into the soup; a quarter of a pint of peas, beans, or lentils, is sufficient to make a quart of thick soup. Two ounces of macaroni, vermicelli, pearl barley, sago, tapioca, rice, or oatmeal, are usually allowed for each quart of stock.

If you wish to darken soup use a teaspoonful of caramel; but avoid burnt flour, carrot, and onion, as all these give a bad flavor. Caramel can be made from the following receipt; melt half a pound of loaf sugar in a thick copper vessel, stirring it frequently with a wooden spoon, and boiling it slowly until it assumes a rich brown color, but do not let it burn; when brown enough add one quart of cold water, stir well, and boil gently at the side of the fire for twenty minutes; then cool, strain, and bottle tight. In using the caramel add it just as you are about to serve the soup, or sauce colored with it.


The Cooking Manual of Practical Directions for Economical Every-Day Cookery (1877).


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