Mock Turtle. Recipe
History and Fun Facts about Mock Turtle Soup:
Mock Turtle Soup is a traditional British soup that dates back to the 18th century. The soup gained popularity during the Victorian era, and it was often seen as a delicacy among the upper class. While the name might sound unusual, the soup does not actually contain any turtle meat. Instead, it typically uses calf's head as a substitute, giving it a similar texture and flavor.
The origin of the name "mock turtle" comes from Lewis Carroll's famous book, "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland." In this book, the Mock Turtle is a character that imitates the real turtles that were once a popular addition to soups and stews. The use of calf's head in the soup is a clever nod to this literary reference.
Mock Turtle Soup gained popularity not only in England but also in America during the 19th century. It was often served at formal dinners and special occasions, as it was considered a luxurious and sophisticated dish. Today, while not as commonly served as before, the soup can still be found in some traditional British and American restaurants.
Now, let's move on to the recipe for Mock Turtle Soup:
- 1 calf's head, well-cleaned
- Beef and veal stock (homemade or store-bought)
- Flour, for dredging
- 2 fried shallots, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon mushroom ketchup
- 1 pint white wine
- Balls of forcemeat (optional)
- Egg balls (optional)
- Juice of 1 lemon
1. In a large stew-pan, half boil the well-cleaned calf's head. This will help to soften the meat and prepare it for later use.
2. Once the calf's head is half-boiled, remove it from the stew-pan and cut all the meat into small, square pieces. Break the bones and set them aside.
3. Return the meat and bones to the stew-pan and add the beef and veal stock. The stock can be homemade or store-bought, whichever you prefer. Make sure there is enough stock to cover the meat completely.
4. Sprinkle a generous amount of flour over the meat and stock, stirring well to ensure it is evenly distributed. This will help thicken the soup as it cooks.
5. Add the fried shallots, freshly ground black pepper, finely chopped parsley, tarragon, and mushroom ketchup to the stew-pan. These ingredients will enhance the flavor of the soup, giving it a rich and savory taste.
6. Pour in the pint of white wine, which will add a subtle acidity to the soup. Allow the mixture to simmer gently over low heat until the meat is perfectly soft and tender. This process may take some time, so be patient.
7. If desired, you can add balls of forcemeat and egg balls to the soup a short time before serving. These additions will provide interesting textures and flavors to the dish.
8. Just before serving, squeeze the juice of a lemon into the soup. This final touch will elevate the flavors and add a refreshing zing.
Serve the Mock Turtle Soup hot with crusty bread or crackers on the side. Enjoy the rich and flavorful combination of calf's head, herbs, wine, and spices!
Similar Recipes and Dishes:
If you enjoyed Mock Turtle Soup, you might be interested in exploring other traditional British soups. Some popular options include:
1. Scotch Broth: A hearty soup made with lamb or mutton, barley, and various vegetables. It is a staple dish in Scottish cuisine.
2. Pea and Ham Soup: This classic soup combines split peas, ham hock, and vegetables to create a comforting and flavorful dish.
3. Mulligatawny Soup: Originating from the Anglo-Indian cuisine, this soup features a blend of spices, curry, chicken, and various vegetables.
4. Cock-a-Leekie Soup: A traditional Scottish soup made with chicken, leeks, and prunes. It is often enjoyed during special occasions such as Burns Night.
These soups are just a few examples of the rich culinary heritage that Britain has to offer. Each dish has its own unique flavors and ingredients, making them worth exploring and trying out in your kitchen. So, grab your ladle and enjoy the comforting and satisfying experience of these traditional soups!