Begin this soup the day before it is wanted. Take a good piece of fresh beef that has been newly killed: any substantial part will do that has not too much fat about it: a fore leg is very good for this purpose. Wash it well. Cut off all the meat, and break up the bones. Put the meat and the bones into a large pot, very early in the day, so as to allow eight or nine hours for its boiling. Proportion the water to the quantity of meat, about a pint and a half to each pound. Sprinkle the meat with a small quantity of pepper and salt. Pour on the water, hang it over a moderate fire, and boil it slowly; carefully skimming off all the fat that rises to the top, and keeping it closely covered, except when you raise the lid to skim it. Do not, on any account, put in additional water to this soup while it is boiling; and take care that the boiling goes steadily on, as, if it stops, the soup will be much injured. But if the fire is too great, and the soup boils too fast, the meat will become hard and tough, and will not give out its juices.
After the meat is reduced to rags, and the soup sufficiently boiled, remove the pot from the fire, and let it stand in the corner for a quarter of an hour to settle. Then take it up, strain it into a large earthen pan, cover it, and set it away in a cool dry place till next day. Straining it makes it clear and bright, and frees it from the shreds of meat and bone. If you find that it jellies in the pan, (which it will if properly made,) do not disturb it till you are ready to put it into the pot for the second boiling, as breaking the jelly may prevent it from keeping well.
On the following morning, boil separately, carrots, turnips, onions, celery, and whatever other vegetables you intend to thicken the soup with. Tomatas will greatly improve it. Prepare them by taking off the skin, cutting them into small pieces, and stewing them in their own juice till they are entirely dissolved. Put on the carrots before any of the other vegetables, as they require the longest time to boil. Or you may slice and put into the soup a portion of the vegetables you are boiling for dinner; but they must be nearly done before you put them in, as the second boiling of the soup should not exceed half an hour, or indeed, just sufficient time to heat it thoroughly.
Scrape off carefully from the cake of jellied soup whatever fat or sediment may still be remaining on it; divide the jelly into pieces, and about half an hour before it is to go to table, put it into a pot, add the various vegetables, (having first sliced them,) in sufficient quantities to make the soup very thick; hang it over the fire and let it boil slowly, or simmer steadily till dinner time. Boiling it much on the second day will destroy the flavour, and render it flat and insipid. For this reason, in making fine, clear beef soup, the vegetables are to be cooked separately. They need not be put in the first day, as the soup is to be strained; and on the second day, if put in raw, the length of time required to cook them would spoil the soup by doing it too much. We repeat, that when soup has been sufficiently boiled on the first day, and all the juices and flavour of the meat thoroughly extracted, half an hour is the utmost it requires on the second.
Carefully avoid seasoning it too highly. Soup, otherwise excellent, is frequently spoiled by too much pepper and salt. These condiments can be added at table, according to the taste of those that are eating it; but if too large a proportion of them is put in by the cook, there is then no remedy, and the soup may by some be found uneatable.
Many persons prefer boiling all the vegetables in the soup on the first day, thinking that they improve its flavour. This may be done in common soup that is not to be strained, but is inadmissible if you wish it to be very bright and clear. Also, unless you have a garden and a profusion of vegetables of your own, it is somewhat extravagant, as when strained out they are of no further use, and are therefore wasted.