A recipe for Charles Dickens’s hare soup

Skin a hare and put it on to roast. Whilst it is cooking, fry in the best English butter two carrots, a head of celery, two onions, two ounces of raw ham, two bay leaves, two cloves, a blade of mace, four shallots, a little thyme and parsley. Fry all these to a brown color in a stew pan.

When the hare has been roasting for an hour, remove the back fillets and pound the remainder in a mortar and add it to the vegetables. Add to this mixture a half pound of brown thickening which has been made with a pound of butter and sifted flour, and cook over a slow fire. The mixture should be moistened with two quarts of good stock and stirred over a fire until it boils. A glass of wine should be added and a small pinch of cayenne.

The recipe comes from the unsigned article “London Chef Explains Dickens’s Hare Soup,” published in The New York Times, 26 Dec. 1926.

According to the article, a “well-known London chef” shared the recipe as “a kind of Christmas card” with his patrons in 1926. Apparently Dickens enjoyed eating this hare soup regularly “a Strand restaurant” in the 1850s.


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