Easiest Way to Make Portable Soup


Today, I’m going to show you how to make portable soup. Portable soup was very popular in the 18th Century for many good reasons. Thanks for joining us today on 18th Century Cooking with James Townsend and Son. So let’s talk a little bit about what portable soup is. It’s a very concentrated form of essence of meat, sort of like a solidified broth, and in the time period they used it like we would use soup bouillon today. It goes by many different names; in period texts you’ll see it as portable soup, portable broth, pocket soup, veal glue – I like this one – portmanteau potage and the list goes on and on. Portable soup was extremely convenient. It doesn’t take up very much space, it’s very light, it’s a very condensed food source, and it’s very flavorful in that very condensed form. It was used by the military, by travellers… [It was] even used as an invalid food source at times, especially aboard ships, so it was used in many different situations but it was very difficult to make, especially in a home setting. It took a long period of time to make. You have to watch it all the time because if you turn your back on it and it got too hot it would ruin all your work, so it was very laborious. It was even industrialized in the 18th century. Even if you’re not a historical reenactor yet, this portable soup makes an excellent homemade flavor booster that’s all natural. You can use it in sauces, soups, gravies, so it’s great for that. Now, if you watched our recent bone broth video, this recipe starts off exactly the same way. You can do this over a [slow] open fire, you can do it on your stovetop, or since you’re probably doing this at home, and you want to make this easy; I really suggest using a slow cooker. I’m using a medium-size slow cooker. It’ll hold about 5 pounds of meat. If you want to make a larger batch, I suggest using a kitchen roaster. The meat I’m using is beef shank, similar to what we used in our bone broth video. Beef shank is a hard-working muscle, so it’s a tough cut of meat. It has a lot of collagen in it which makes it especially good for this recipe. Another good cut of beef would be the neck bone. Other cuts will work, but just not as well. Now this can be done with poultry; you can boil that in water and that will be the basis of this portable soup. So you can go ahead and place your meat in your slow cooker and cover it with water. Most of the recipes we found suggested adding nothing else: [because] seasoning can come later when it’s actually used as the portable soup. Some of the recipes suggest using only the meat, other ones include the bones. and that’s what we’re doing in the recipe today. Turn your slow cooker on low and go about your business for the next eight to ten hours. Once the time has gone by, remove the meat. You can now pick it clean of the bones and any remaining gristle and fat. This is really good tasting beef… At this point turn off your slow cooker and let it cool completely. As it cools the fat on the top will solidify making it very easy to remove. Once you’re done with that, strain your broth and filter it through a piece of cloth to get out all the settled particles of meat. So go ahead and rinse out your slow cooker and return to clarified broth to it and turn it back on low Let it go and leave the lid off; let it cook for anywhere from 18 to 24 hours. What we’re doing at this stage in the process is reducing the broth down to a gelatin. Gelatin is an interesting thing: don’t expect to be able to reduce this down into a hard block. What you end up with is a nice, medium brown gluey substance. If you overcook it, you will burn it, giving it a very, very, unpleasant taste. Once your soup reaches this stage turn off your slow cooker and let it cool completely. Then you can turn the gel out onto a cloth Now the soup is still very gelatinous, to get it to the point where you can store it, put it in your pocket, [et cetera] it needs to be dried. Now, you cannot do this with heat. Any temperature of heat, will just turn this into a liquid again; and then you’ll just burn it. So it needs to be done without heat, you can do this in a dehydrator, but you need to make sure the dehydrator doesn’t heat anything up. The period recipe actually suggests turning it out on to a woollen flannel cloth, just like we’ve done here and flipping it over two or three times a day for 10 days or two weeks or so. If you want to speed this process up at home, put this on a cooling rack and put it in front of a fan, and it’ll dry out in a couple of days. The end results will be a very stiff paste. It’s almost like leather. You’re going to cut this up into chunks and then wrap it up in paper or something similar to store it away. It’ll continue to harden as it ages But it’s completely usable in this leathery, hard form. In our last episode we made a spring soup, we use the portable soup as the base for that, so make sure to go back and check out that video. Thanks so much for watching; if you’re new to our channel I want to welcome you. You can subscribe by clicking the button right up here, also check out our related videos. Thanks so much for watching!

100 thoughts on “Easiest Way to Make Portable Soup

  1. So if you took two hardtacks,
    Some portable soup, and some jerky. You would have a survival sandwich and probably the hardest sandwich to eat ever made.

  2. This is very similar to making hide glue, what woodworkers and carpenters of the time would've used. You take rawhide and heat it in the same manner. Then remove the rawhide, strain the liquid, dehydrate it, crush it up, and when you need some glue you take some of it, rehydrate it with hot water, and you have hide glue. You could actually do this up to three times with the same hide, each subsequent batch being weaker than the first.

    After making your portable soup, you could use the bones to make bone glue. Same process. Not sure of the strength of it, but might have to try it to find out.

  3. Could you please tell me how long portable soup with last ??? Every time I watch these videos, I realize how much smarter people were then than we are today. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information!

  4. Does anyone know if this works with lamb? If it doesn't, I'd hate to waste the shanks. On the other hand.. I have a lot of shanks. #SheepFarmer

  5. Excellent Post. I read somewhere mentioning portable souped being used by Revolutionary soldiers, but always assumed it was something more like our modern dried soup mixes. Now I know how to make it. Thank you for sharing!

  6. MAN I LOVE this channel!!!!! I would so love to reenact but I hate dresses that all women were back then and too much clothes for the heat🤷

  7. Thanks YouTube recommended feed, I literally only wanted to learn how to carve a spoon out of wood and now I’m here

  8. So stoked I found this channel, I’m and outdoors men in all seasons . I’ve learned a lot of new things to try out !

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