Turtle Soup - Definition and Recipes

With the exception of a few leading London restaurants, where a large quantity of this preparation is constantly in demand, turtle soup is very rarely prepared in the kitchens of catering establishments.

It is more generally obtained ready-made, either fresh or preserved, and as a rule of exceptional quality, from firms whose specialty it is to make it, and who deliver it in excellent condition.

From among the London firms who have deservedly earned a reputation for this soup, “Pécriaux" may be quoted as one whose produce is quite irreproachable.

When a small quantity of this soup is required, it is best to buy it ready-made.  For a larger portion or in the event of its being desirable to prepare it oneself, the following recipe will be found the simplest and most practical for the purpose.

Note: For Mock-turtle soup, use veal or beef stew meat and bones.  

The Preparation of Turtle Soup

There are two modes of procedure, though their respective results are almost identical.

a) Make a broth of the flesh of turtle alone, and then add a very gelatinous beef consommé to it, in pursuance of the method employed when the turtle soup is bought ready-made. This procedure is practically the best, more particularly if the soup has to be kept some time.

b) Make an ordinary broth of shin of beef, using the same quantity of the latter as of turtle. Also include half a calf's foot and one-half lb. of calf's shin per 3 lbs. of the beef. Add the flesh of the turtle

The Ingredients of the Soup

  • Put into a stew pan of convenient size the flesh of the turtle
  • Add salt in the proportion of one oz. per every five quarts; set to boil; skim, and garnish with twelve carrots, a bunch of leeks (about ten bound with a head of celery), one lb. of parsley stalks, eight onions with ten cloves stuck into them, two lbs. of shallots, and one head of garlic.
  • Set to boil gently for two hours.
  • An hour before straining the soup, add to the garnish four strips of lemon-peel, a bunch of herbs for turtle, comprising sweet basil, sweet marjoram, sage, rosemary, savory, and thyme, and a bag containing four oz. of coriander and two oz. of peppercorns,
  • Finally, strain the soup through a napkin;

The Serving of the Soup.

  • When about to serve this soup, heat it; test and rectify its seasoning, and finish it off by means of a port wine glass of very old Madeira to every quart.
  • Very often a milk punch is served with turtle soup


  • Recipe for the milk punch:
  • Prepare a syrup from one-half pint of water and three and one-half oz. of sugar, the consistence at the boil being 17° (Baumé's Hydrometer).
  • Set to infuse in this syrup two orange and two lemon zests.
  • Strain at the end of ten minutes, and add one-half pint of rum, one-fifth pint of kirsch, two-thirds pint of milk, and the juice of three oranges and three lemons.
  • Mix thoroughly. Let it stand for three hours; filter, and serve cold.
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