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Turtle Soup

Sons of Apicius! say, can Europe's seas,
Can aught the edible creation yield
Compare with turtle, boast of land and wave?
—GRAINGER.

And, zounds! who would grudge
Turtle soup, though it came to five guineas the bowl?
—MOORE.

Instructions

The day before you dress a turtle, chop the herbs, and make the forcemeat; then, on the preceding evening, suspend the turtle by the two hind fins with a cord, and put one round the neck with a heavy weight attached to it to draw out the neck, that the head may be cut off with more ease; let the turtle hang all night, in which time the blood will be well drained from the body. Then, early in the morning, having your stoves and plenty of hot water in readiness, take the turtle, lay it on the table on its back, and with a strong pointed knife cut round the under shell (which is the callipee),--there are joints at each end, which must be carefully found,--gently separating it from the callipash (which is the upper shell); be careful that in cutting out the gut you do not break the gall. When the callipee and the callipash are perfectly separated, take out that part of the gut that leads from the throat; that with the hearts put into a basin of water by themselves, the other interior part put away. Take the callipee, and cut off the meat which adheres to it in four quarters, laying it on a clean dish. Take twenty pounds of veal, chop it up, and set it in a large pot, as directed for espagnoles, putting in the flesh of the turtle at the same time, with all kinds of turtle herbs, carrots, onions, one pound and a half of lean ham, peppercorns, salt, and a little spice, and two bay leaves, leaving it to stew till it take the color of espagnole; put the fins--the skin scalded off--and hearts in, half an hour before you fill it, with half water, and half beef stock, then carefully skim it; put in a bunch of parsley, and let it boil gently like consomme. While the turtle is stewing, carefully scald the head, the callipee, and all that is soft of the callipash, attentively observing to take off the smallest skin that may remain; put them with the gut into a large pot of water to boil till tender; when so, take them out and cut them in squares, putting them in a basin by themselves till wanted for the soup. The next thing is the thickening of the soup, which must be prepared in the same manner as sauce tournee. The turtle being well done, take out the fins and hearts, and lay them on a dish; the whole of the liquor must pass through a sieve into a large pan; then with a ladle take off all the fat, put it into a basin, then mix in the turtle liquor (a small quantity at a time), with the thickening made the same as tournee; but it does not require to, neither must it, be one-twentieth part as thick. Set it over a brisk fire, and continue stirring till it boils. When it has boiled gently for one hour put in the callipee and callipash with the guts, hearts, and some of the best of the meat and head, all cut in squares, with the forcemeat balls and herbs, which you should have ready chopped and stewed in espagnole; the herbs and parsley, lemon, thyme, marjoram, basil, savory, and a few chopped mushrooms.

It must be carefully attended to and skimmed, and one hour and a half before dinner put in a bottle of Madeira wine, and nearly half a bottle of brandy, keeping it continually boiling gently, and skimming it, then take a basin, put a little cayenne into it, with the juice of six lemons squeezed through a sieve. When the dinner is wanted, skim the turtle, stir it well up, and put a little salt, if necessary; then stir the cayenne and lemon juice in, and ladle it into the tureen. This receipt will answer for a turtle between fifty and sixty pounds.

Source

A Poetical Cook-Book (1864).

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