Old-Fashioned Mock Turtle


  • whole calf’s head with skin on, boiled 1½ hour.
  • stock: neck of beef, browned in butter, 8 lbs.
  • lean of ham, ½ to ¾ lb.
  • onions, 4
  • large carrots, 3
  • heads of celery, 3
  • large bunch herbs
  • salt, 2 oz. (as much more to be added when the soup is made as will season it sufficiently)
  • thin rind, 1 lemon
  • peppercorns, 1 dessertspoonful
  • bones and trimmings of head: 8 hours.
  • soup: stock, 4 to 5 quarts
  • flour and butter for thickening, of each 4 oz.
  • pounded mace, halfteaspoonful
  • cayenne, third as much (more of each as needed)
  • sherry, half pint: 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Flesh of head and tongue, nearly or quite lbs.: 1¼ to 1½ hour.
  • Forcemeat-balls, 36 the brain cut and fried
  • egg-balls, 16 to 24.


After having taken out the brain and washed and soaked the head well, pour to it nine quarts of cold water, bring it gently to boil, skim it very clean, boil it if large an hour and a half, lift it out, and put into the liquor eight pounds of neck of beef lightly browned in a little fresh butter, with three or four thick slices of lean ham, four large onions sliced, three heads of celery, three large carrots, a large bunch of savoury herbs, the rind of a lemon pared very thin, a dessertspoonful of peppercorns, two ounces of salt, and after the meat has been taken from the head, all the bones and fragments. Stew these gently from six to seven hours, then strain off the stock and set it into a very cool place, that the fat may become firm enough on the top to be cleared off easily. The skin and fat of the head should be taken off together and divided into strips of two or three inches in length, and one in width; the tongue may be carved in the same manner, or into dice. Put the stock, of which there ought to be between four and five quarts, into a large soup or stewpot; thicken it when it boils with four ounces of fresh butter mixed with an equal weight of fine dry flour, a half-teaspoonful of pounded mace, and a third as much of cayenne (it is better to use these sparingly at first, and to add more should the soup require it, after it has boiled some little time); pour in half a pint of sherry, stir the whole together until it has simmered for a minute or two, then put in the head, and let it stew gently from an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half: stir it often, and clear it perfectly from scum. Put into it just before it is ready for table three dozens of small forcemeat-balls; the brain cut into dice (after having been well soaked, scalded,* and freed from the film), dipped into beaten yolk of egg, then into the finest crumbs mixed with salt, white pepper, a little grated nutmeg, fine lemon-rind, and chopped parsley fried a fine brown, well drained and dried; and as many egg-balls, the size of a small marble, as the yolks of four eggs will supply. (See Chapter VIII). This quantity will be sufficient for two large tureens of soup; when the whole is not wanted for table at the same time, it is better to add wine only to so much as will be required for immediate consumption, or if it cannot conveniently be divided, to heat the wine in a small saucepan with a little of the soup, to turn it into the tureen, and then to mix it with the remainder by stirring the whole gently after the tureen is filled. Some persons simply put in the cold wine just before the soup is dished, but this is not so well.

Obs.—When the brain is not blanched it must be cut thinner in the form of small cakes, or it will not be done through by the time it has taken enough colour: it may be altogether omitted without much detriment to the soup, and will make an excellent corner dish if gently stewed in white gravy for half an hour, and served with it thickened with cream and arrowroot to the consistency of good white sauce, then rather highly seasoned, and mixed with plenty of minced parsley, and some lemon-juice.

† When the butter is considered objectionable, the flour, without it, may be mixed to the smoothest batter possible, with a little cold stock or water, and stirred briskly into the boiling soup : the spices should be blended with it.

* The brain should be blanched, that is, thrown into boiling water with a little salt in it, and boiled from five to eight minutes, then lifted out and laid into cold water for a quarter of an hour: it must be wiped very dry before it is fried.