Mock Turtle Soup


First Broth:—

  • shin, or neck of beef, 4 lbs.
  • water, 4 quarts
  • carrots, 2 or 3
  • large mild onion, 1
  • celery, small head
  • bunch Savoury herbs
  • mace, 1 large blade
  • peppercorns, ½ teaspoonful
  • cloves, 6
  • salt, 1 oz.: 5 hours or more, very gently.

For Stock

  • the broth and 3 lbs.
  • neck or knuckle of veal (bones of head if ready): 4 to 5 hours.
  • Boned half-head with skin on and tongue, 1 to 1¼ hour.
  • Lean of undressed ham, 6 to 8 oz. (6 if very salt)
  • shalots, 4, or onion, 1
  • fresh butter, 4 oz.
  • cloves, 6
  • middling-sized blades of mace, 2
  • peppercorns, ½ teaspoonful
  • small, sprigs of thyme, 3 or 4
  • minced parsley, 3 large teaspoonsful
  • minced savoury and lemon-thyme mixed, 1 small teaspoonful (thin rind ½ small lemon, when liked): 1 hour.
  • Flour, 2 oz.: 5 minutes.
  • stock, full five pints
  • flesh of head and tongue, 1¾ to 2 lbs.: ¾ of an hour to 1 hour (salt, if needed, to be added in interim).
  • Good sherry or Madeira, 2 wineglassesful
  • lemon-juice, 1 to 2 dessertspoonsful
  • forcemeat-balls, 24.


To make a single tureen of this favourite English soup in the most economical manner when there is no stock at hand, stew gently down in a gallon of water four pounds of the fleshy part of the shin of beef, or of the neck, with two or three carrots, one onion, a small head of celery, a bunch of savoury herbs, a blade of mace, a half-teaspoonful of peppercorns, and an ounce of salt. When the meat is quite in fragments, strain off the broth, and pour it when cold upon three pounds of the knuckle or of the neck of veal; simmer this until the flesh has quite fallen from the bones, but be careful to stew it as softly as possible, or the quantity of stock will be so much reduced as to be insufficient for the soup. Next, take the half of a fine calf’s head with the skin on, remove the brains, and then bone it* entirely, or let the butcher do this, and return the bones with it; these, when there is time, may be stewed with the veal to enrich the stock, or boiled afterwards with the head and tongue. Strain the soup through a hair-sieve into a clean pan, and let it drain closely from the meat. When it is nearly or quits cold, clear off all the fat from it; roll the head lightly round, leaving the tongue inside, or taking it out, as is most convenient, secure it with tape or twine, pour the soup over, and bring it gently to boil upon a moderate fire; keep it well skimmed, and simmer it from an hour to an hour and a quarter; then lift the head into a deep pan or tureen, add the soup to it, and let it remain in until nearly cold, as this will prevent the edges from becoming dark. Cut into quarter-inch slices, and then divide into dice, from six to eight ounces of the lean of an undressed ham, and if possible, one of good flavour; free it perfectly from fat, rind, and the smoked edges; peel and slice four moderate-sized eschalots, or if these should not be at hand, one mild onion in lieu of them. Dissolve in a well-tinned stewpan or thick iron saucepan which holds a gallon or more, four ounces of butter; put in the ham and eschalots, or onion, with half a dozen cloves, two middling-sized blades of mace, a half-teaspoonful of peppercorns, three or four very small sprigs of thyme, three teaspoonsful of minced parsley, one of lemon thyme and winter savoury mixed, and when the flavour is thought appropriate, the very thin rind of half a small fresh lemon. Stew these as softly as possible for nearly or quite an hour, and keep the pan frequently shaken: then put into a dredging box two ounces of fine dry flour, and sprinkle it to them by degrees; mix the whole well together, and after a few minutes more of gentle simmering, add very gradually five full pints of the stock taken free of fat and sediment, and made boiling before it is poured in; shake the pan strongly round as the first portions of it are added, and continue to do so until it contains from two to three pints, when the remainder may be poured in at once, and the pan placed by the side of the fire that it may boil in the gentlest manner for an hour. At the end of that time turn the whole into a hair-sieve placed over a large pan, and if the liquid should not run through freely, knock the sides of the sieve, but do not force it through with a spoon, as that would spoil the appearance of the stock. The head in the meanwhile should have been cut up, ready to add to it. For the finest kind of mock turtle, only the skin, with the fat that adheres to it, should be used; and this, with the tongue, should be cut down into one inch squares, or if preferred into strips of an inch wide. For ordinary occasions, the lean part of the flesh may be added also, but as it is always sooner done than the skin, it is better to add it to the soup a little later. When it is quite ready, put it with the strained stock into a clean pan, and simmer it from three quarters of an hour to a full hour: it should be perfectly tender, without being allowed to break. Cayenne, if needed, should be thrown into the stock before it is strained; salt should be used sparingly, on account of the ham, until the whole of the other ingredients have been mixed together, when a sufficient quantity must be stirred into the soup to season it properly. A couple of glasses of good sherry or Madeira, with a dessertspoonful of strained lemon-juice, are usually added two or three minutes only before the soup is dished, that the spirit and flavour of the wine may not have time to evaporate; but it is sometimes preferred mellowed down by longer boiling. The proportion of lemon-juice may be doubled at will, but much acid is not generally liked. We can assure the reader of the excellence of the soup made by this receipt; it is equally palatable and delicate, and not heavy or cloying to the stomach, like many of the elaborate compositions which bear its name. The fat, through the whole process, should be carefully skimmed off. The ham gives far more savour, when used as we have directed, than when, even in much larger proportion, it is boiled down in the stock. Two dozens of forcemeat-balls, prepared by the receipt No. 11, Chap. VIIL, should be dropped into the soup when it is ready for table. It is no longer customary to serve egg-balls in it.

Obs. 1.—The beef, veal, bones of the head, and vegetables may be stewed down together when more convenient: it is only necessary that a really good, well flavoured, and rather deeply-coloured stock should be prepared. A calf’s foot is always an advantageous addition to it and the skin of another calf’s head* a better one still.

Obs. 2.—A couple of dozens mushroom-buttons, cleaned with salt and flannel, then wiped very dry, and sliced, and added to the ham and herbs when they have been simmered together about half an hour, will be found an improvement to the soup.

Claret is sometimes added instead of sherry or Madeira, but we do not think it would in general suit English taste so well. From two to three tablespoonsful of Harvey’s sauce can be stirred in with the wine when it is liked, or when the colour requires deepening.

* This is so simple and easy a process, that the cook may readily accomplish it with very little attention. Let her only work the knife close to the bone always, so as to take the flesh clean from it, instead of leaving large fragments on. The jaw-bone may first be removed, and the flesh turned back from the edge of the other

* Country butchers, in preparing a calf’s head for sale in the ordinary way, take off the skin (or scalp), considered so essential to the excellence of this soap, and frequently throw it away; it may, therefore, often be procured from them at very slight cost, and is the best possible addition to the mock turtle. It is cleared from the head in detached portions with the hair on, bat this may easily be removed after a few minutes’ scalding as from the head itself; or the feet, by the direction given inSweet Dishes. In London it is sold entire, and very nicely prepared, and may be served in many forma, besides being added to soap with great advantage.