I love finding old interesting recipes and although I probably wouldn’t personally call this a ‘soup’, that’s what it was listed as in the Cassells Vegetarian Cookery book published in 1891 🙂
I quite like the idea of using stale bread in this way. Stale slices in my house tend to get ‘bread-and-butter pudding’ed’ or binned!
I’ve kept the original text but added a note or two…
Light-coloured and dry cheese is necessary for this somewhat peculiar soup, but the best cheese of all is, undoubtedly, Gruyère. Grate half a pound of cheese and spread a layer of this at the bottom of the soup-tureen. Cover this layer of cheese with some very thin slices of stale bread.
Then put another layer of cheese and another layer of bread till all the cheese is used up.
Next take about two tablespoonfuls of *brown roux, melt this in a small saucepan, and add two tablespoonfuls of chopped onion. Let the onion cook in the melted roux over the fire, and then add a **quart of water, and stir it all up till it boils, adding pepper and salt and a few drops of ***Parisian essence (burnt sugar) to give it a dark brown colour.
Now pour the boiling soup over the contents of the soup-tureen, and let it stand a few minutes so that the bread has time to soak, and serve.
This recipe seems to assume you have a stock of brown roux available at any time 🙂 Generally a roux is made by melting fat in a saucepan and adding the equivalent weight of flour, stirring until smooth. Basically you want to land up with a smooth pourable sauce. Stir over a low-medium heat until brown.
Butter is usually used as the ‘fat’ ingredient but fats from meats can also be used. For the cheese soup I would probably go for butter but it’s your choice!
**A quart is 2 pints or approx. 1 litre
***Parisian Essence ?? – no idea but wouldn’t have thought it essential to the recipe