Food Monday ~ Gravy Soup

It was late on Friday before I discovered I missed National Soup Day, otherwise I would have marked the day with Elly’s Tomato Soup.  Thanks to Lily’s Blog I discovered Gorta was asking us to Gather our friends, family and colleagues for a fun get together over a bowl, cup or pot of soup and make a modest contribution to gorta’s work fighting hunger and malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

Making one of Elly’s soups would have been very appropriate, since In Ireland during The Great Famine soup kitchens fed more than one third of the population. Lily reminds me that:

During the time of the Great Famine, (1845-1850), the population dropped dramatically through death and emigration. The cause of the famine was the failure of the potato crop due to blight. The human cost of potato blight, where many were entirely dependent on the potato for food, was also aggravated by political, social and economic factors at that time.

My ancestors came from either side of the mouth of the River Shannon, on the West Coast of Ireland. My paternal grandfather was born c1850 in County Clare.  Across the river in County Limerick my maternal ancestors can be traced back to 1800 and the old homestead still has three generations of the family living there.  During the famine the homestead became a Soup Kitchen for the duration, being funded from America by Quakers.

This May, gorta and the Irish government will be commemorating the Great Irish Famine. They will be remembering the past, but also looking to the future.  Today, undernourishment affects 1.02 billion people across OUR world.


The recipe today is an old one, but hopefully not from the date of the famine.  It is a little unusual, I would love to know what you think of it.  Can you guess where it came from?  Come back tomorrow for the answer!

Gravy Soup

½lb round steak
2 sticks of celery
2ozs carrot
2ozs onion
1oz white turnip
½oz fat
1 quart of brown stock
2ozs flour
Bouquet garni *
Salt & pepper

Remove skin, fat and bone from the meat.  Wipe and shred or mince it.  Steep in cold stock, to which a little salt has been added, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Prepare vegetables according to kind, and cut into small pieces.  Melt the fat in a saucepan, add all vegetables and fry until lightly browned.  Add stock, meat and bouquet garni.  Bring slowly to simmering point, and simmer 1 ½ hours.  Remove bouquet garni.  Sieve or use a liquidiser.
Rinse the saucepan and pour the sieved soup into it.  Add the flour blended in a little cold stock or water.  Bring to the boil, stirring well all the time; boil for 5 minutes.
Correct for seasoning and colour.

* Bouquet garni consisted of ½ bay leaf , 3 sprigs thyme & 4 large sprigs parsley including stalks, tied with thread or fine string.

11 thoughts on “Food Monday ~ Gravy Soup

  1. Magpie11

    Well, it might appear in an edition of one of Mrs Beeton’s Household management . If not try Household Cyclopedia…. sort of American equivalent. Saw a copy years ago…someone who collected Kitchen equipment had it. I think it wa s to do with the same people who made Spong Mincers and Bean slicers.

    Or maybe your gran!

  2. Grannymar Post author

    WWW – It is unusual for soup!

    Magpie – This was a different publication. All will be revealed tomorrow.

  3. Anil

    Homesteads surviving from the famine lend poignancy and beseech us to do our best so the worst years will not return ever.

    The homestead you mention must hold many memories fresh from being passed down from generation to generation.

  4. Nancy


    Since my children all grew up and left home I haven’t cooked much. Mostly soup..In fact, my husband says that if we broke all of our soup bowls we would probably starve to death.

  5. Grannymar Post author

    Anil – There are indeed many stories to tell from within the stones of those buildings!

    Nancy – A large box of straws are needed for your store cupboard! 🙄

  6. Lily

    Interested re the homestead being a soup kitchen. Wasn’t that in Murroe near here?

    I spent Fri – Sun in an unusual way – sick. Yesterday there was a lot of mention of the famine on the radio. Was thinking of poor famine victims so couldn’t feel at all sorry for myself … in a comfortable bed, knowing where the next meal would come from whenever I was back to being able to eat one! (BTW Fine today)

  7. Grannymar Post author

    Betty – To me the soup recipe needs something.

    Lily – Yes, Lily it was in Murroe. I remember Tommy talking about cycling that way.

  8. Rhyleysgranny

    It does sound interesting. Is the meat shin I wonder. I have to say I wouldn’t be liquidising/ sieving the meat. I’d be leaving it in a lump then fishing it out and sticking it between a sliced heavily buttered soda farl to eat with the soup. 🙂

  9. Grannymar Post author

    Rhyleysgranny – Shin would give plenty of flavour, but round steak is more like frying steak.


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