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Article: Broth for the Poor

Broth for the Poor -
beef stock

Broth for the Poor

Though now the middle of December, there had yet been no weather to prevent the young ladies from tolerably regular exercise; and on the morrow, Emma had a charitable visit to pay to a poor sick family, who lived a little way out of Highbury.
With great power comes great responsibility, or so the saying goes, and during the Regency, this adage certainly held true for the "Great Ladies" of the countryside. Certainly, there was an expectation that those who had, would share with those who had not, whether it was in Emma's gift of a hind quarter of pork to the impoverished Bates' or her visit to the sickly cottagers. Even so great a lady as Lady Catherine Du Bourgh was not above attending to such charitable visits herself...whether she was wanted or not!
Elizabeth soon perceived that though this great lady was not in the commission of the peace for the county, she was a most active magistrate in her own parish, the minutest concerns of which were carried to her by Mr Collins; and whenever any of the cottagers were disposed to be quarrelsome, discontented or too poor, she sallied forth into the village to settle their differences, silence their complaints, and scold them into harmony and plenty.
The following is copied from a private collection of recipes, circa 1760-1776. Since each housekeeper and cook would have her own favorite recipes copied into a book, it is not surprising that many such anonymous books survive. This soup would, no doubt, be very nourishing, and as it calls for 11 gallons of water, it would feed an army of poor cottagers!
To make Broth for the Poor
  • An ox head
  • 1/2 peck of peas
  • 2 pounds of oatmeal
  • 4 pounds of onions or leaks do.
  • (ditto)loaf toasted
  • 90 pints of water. Well stewed together.

A Revised Recipe for Home Made Beef Stock

  • 4 pounds Beef Or Veal Bones -- Preferably Shank Or Bones
  • 3 quarts Water
  • 1 medium Onion -- Coarsely Chopped
  • 1 medium Bay Leaf  
  • 2 Whole Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme - Crushed
  • 6 each Peppercorns
  • 8 each Sprigs Fresh Parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bones in a roasting pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning the bones once. Pour off the collected fat. Transfer the bones and the remaining ingredients to a large stock pot. Bring to a simmer and simmer 4 to 6 hours; do not BOIL! Skim the fat off the top and strain through a fine strainer lined with cheese cloth. Refrigerate. Fat will harden on the surface when chilled. Skim the fat from the top surface. This dish may be served as a light soup or used in recipes calling for beef broth. 

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