Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Epicure's Almanac : TURTLE

The Epicure's Almanac or Diary of Good Living

August 1st : TURTLE

As dressed at the Montague Tavern, Bristol.

Mr. Burnham ,the late proprietor of the above celebrated house,dressed, during his life, more turtle than any other individual in the kingdom,and from him the following receipt was purchased by a relative of my own.

The never-to-be-forgotten host of the Montague, though accustomed to the preparation of “hecatombs of turtle," as an Irish gentleman once said or him, wrote the succeeding remarks as applicable to a solitary specimen of the “green and lively.”

Two days before you intend to dress the turtle, cut off his head, and to do this properly you should hang up the victim with his head downwards; use a 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 extra ordinary 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 into half a 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 dish separate from the white meat. Let the upper and lower shells boil sufficiently long to enable you to take away the bones, and remove, with a spoon, the mucilage that you findadhering to the shells, put this also in a separate dish.

Into the largest stewpan your kitchen range affords, put the head, fins, liver, lights, heart, and all the flesh, a pound of dressed ham, nine or ten cloves, a couple of bay leaves, and a good-sized bunch of mixed sweet herbs, such as winter savory, marjoram, basil, lemon thyme, a Spanish 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 easily ascertain by pricking it with a fork, andobserving if any blood exudes; when none appears, strain the liquor through a fine sieve, and return it to the stew pan, which may remain at some distance from the fire.

Cut the meat into square bits of about an inch. Put the herbs, onion, &c., 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 freshbutter, and when itis quite dissolved, thicken it with flour,but do not make it too thick, then add a pint of the liquor from the shells, let this boil very gently, skimming off 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, in the liquor from the shells, the green fat and mucilage, put these with the meat into the stewpan also, with the yolks of a dozen eggs boiled hard, the juice of ten green limes, and a dessert-spoonful 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 table, take especial care to warm the turtle in its tureen, by putting it in a hot water bath ; boiling it up a second time would deprive this delicious preparation of its true flavour.