Green Turtle Soup (The Caterer)

The day before you intend to dress the turtle cut off its head; and to do this properly you should hang up the victim with its head downwards, use a very sharp knife and make the incision as close to the head as possible. You must not be surprised at seeing, many hours after the decollation, the creature exhibit extraordinary signs of muscular motion, by the flapping of his fins. Separate the upper from the lower shell, and in this operation be very careful not to touch the gall bladder, which is very large and, if penetrated, would completely destroy the flesh over which its contents ran. Cut the meat of the breast in a half-dozen pieces; abstract the gall and entrails and throw them away at once. Separate the fins as near the shell as possible, abstract the green fat and put it on a separate dish from the white meat. Boil the upper and lower shells in water sufficiently long to enable you to take away the bones. Then remove with a spoon the mucilage that you find adhering to the shells; put this also in a separate dish. Into the largest stewpan your kitchen affords put the head, fins, liver, lights, heart and all the flesh, a pound of ham, nine or ten cloves, a couple of bay leaves, a good-sized bunch of sweet herbs (such as winter savory, marjoram, basil, thyme), a silver onion cut into slices and a bunch of parsley. Cover all these with the liquor in which you have boiled the shells and let it simmer till the meat be thoroughly done, which you can ascertain by pricking with a fork and observing if any blood exudes; when none appears, strain the liquor through a fine sieve and return it to the stewpan, which may remain at some distance from the fire. Cut the meat into square bits of about an inch. Put the herbs, onion, etc., into a separate saucepan with four ounces of butter, three or four lumps of sugar and a bottle of Madeira; let this boil slowly. Whilst this is doing, melt in another saucepan half a pound of fresh butter and, when quite dissolved, thicken it with flour, but do not make it too thick, and then add a pint of the liquor from the shells; let this boil very gently, removing the scum as it rises.

When both these saucepans are ready, strain the contents of the first through a sieve, and this done, add both to the stewpan. Warm up the liquor from the shells, the green fat and mucilage and put them and the meat into the stewpan with the yolks of a dozen hard-boiled eggs, the juice of half a dozen green limes and two teaspoon-fuls of cayenne. Gently warm up the whole together, and you may regard your cookery as complete. Fill as many tureens as your soup will permit, and, as these are required for the table, take especial care to warm the soup before serving by putting the tureens in a hot water bath (bain-marie); boiling it up a second time would deprive this delicious preparation of its true flavor.

Oyster Soup

50 oysters 1 pint of cold water 1 pint of milk

1 dozen pepper-corns

1 tablespoonful of butter

1 tablespoonful of corn starch

Salt and pepper to taste

Put the oysters in a colander to drain, then pour over them the cold water and allow it to drain into the liquor. Now pour the liquor into the soup kettle, set the kettle over a good fire and when it boils skim it. Now add the milk and the pepper-corns. Rub the butter and corn starch together until smooth and add them to the mixture as soon as it boils. Stir constantly until it boils again. Wash the oysters, after draining, by allowing cold water to run over them through the colander. Now add them to the soup, stir continually, until it comes to a boil, add the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Do not allow the oysters to boil, as it destroys their flavor and makes them tough. But be equally careful that the oysters are heated through, as nothing is more objectionable than a cold, uncooked oyster in a hot soup.