Browned flour is often used for coloring, but does not thicken a soup, as, in browning it, the starchy portion has been destroyed; and it will not therefore mix, but settles at the bottom. Burned sugar or caramel makes a better coloring, and also adds flavor. With clear soups grated cheese is often served, either Parmesan or any rich cheese being used. Onions give a better flavor if they are fried in a little butter or dripping before using, and many professional cooks fry all soup vegetables lightly. Cabbage and potatoes should be parboiled in a separate water before adding to a soup. In using wine or catchup, add only at the last moment, as boiling dissipates the flavor. Unless a thick vegetable soup is desired, always strain into the tureen. Rice, sago, macaroni, or any cereal may be used as thickening; the amounts required being found under the different headings. Careful skimming, long boiling, and as careful removing of fat, will secure a broth especially desirable as a food for children and the old, but almost equally so for any age; while many fragments, otherwise entirely useless, discover themselves as savory and nutritious parts of the day’s supply of food.
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For this very excellent soup take two quarts of stock prepared beforehand, as already directed. If the stock is a jelly, as will usually be the case in winter, an amount sufficient to fill a quart-measure can be diluted with a pint of water, and will then be rich enough. Add to this one small carrot, a turnip, a small parsnip, and two onions, all chopped fine; a cupful of chopped cabbage; two tablespoonfuls of barley or rice; and either six fresh tomatoes sliced, or a small can of sealed ones. Boil gently at least one hour; then add one saltspoonful each of pepper, curry-powder, and clove. If the stock has been salted properly, no more will be needed; but tasting is essential to secure just the right flavors. Boil a few minutes longer, and serve without straining.
This is an especially savory and hearty soup, and the combinations of vegetables may be varied indefinitely. A cup of chopped celery is an exceedingly nice addition, or, if this is not to be had, a teaspoonful of celery salt, or a saltspoonful of celery-seed. A lemon may also be sliced thin, and added at the last. Where tomatoes are used, a little sugar is always an improvement; in this case an even tablespoonful being sufficient. If a thicker broth is desired, one heaped tablespoonful of corn-starch or flour may be first dissolved in a little cold water; then a cup of the hot broth gradually mixed with it, and the whole added to the soup and boiled for five minutes.