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Mock turtle soup is a strange dish right from the name. However, contrary to what many people think, its main ingredient is not turtle meat.

This delicious dish uses beef, eggs, and offal. It is a traditional dish but not many people have known about it recently.

So, if you are looking for a recipe for mock turtle soup, this article can help you. Read on to discover more about its history and cooking methods.

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Mock turtle stew with mushrooms

History Of The Mock Turtle Soup?

The history of mock turtle stew dates back to England in the mid-18th century. This dish is a copy of the delicious green turtle soup.

Green turtle soup has been popular since 1750, when a few sailors of West Indian origin began their journey to England.

Green turtles were one of the indispensable foods on ships at that time. They are fresh and taste surprisingly delicious.

The royal family immediately fell in love with this hot soup. It was so popular that it appeared on every table at that time.

At its peak, almost 15,000 live turtles were transported each year. The price for this giant creature is not cheap but that has not stopped people’s curiosity.

After only a while, this species was on the verge of extinction because of over-hunting. To prevent this problem, mock turtle stew was born as a perfect substitute. So, what is mock turtle soup?

The main ingredients of this dish include organ meats and brains of veal. Its taste is similar to the original green turtle meat.

This dish became popular in many countries, especially the United States. Today, you can still find this dish in the Cincinnati area.

In Germany, this special soup has also received considerable popularity in Lower Saxony, Germany. This dish is classified as a specialty British cuisine.

Mock Turtle Soup Recipe 

There are many mock turtle soup recipes that you can search easily with just one click. Yet, there will be changes in ingredients and processing methods.

The recipe below is a traditional recipe that has been popular for generations. Their specific ways are as follows:


Mock turtle stew is a rather sophisticated dish. You will need many ingredients to be able to create a delicious flavor for them.

AS 8888 will divide the ingredients list into sections to avoid confusing you. This serving will serve a table of six to eight people.

Calf’s Head

You will need the following ingredients to prepare the head of the calf:

  • A calf head with parts like the brain and tongue removed. Split the head in half and soak it in dilute salt water for a few hours to kill bacteria.
  • 4kg shin or cow neck.
  • A piece of smoked ham.
  • 75 grams of butter.
  • Four large onions have been cut in quarters.
  • Two ends of celery, cut lengthwise before cooking.
  • One teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Three large carrots, peeled and cut them lengthwise.
  • Herbs: thyme, lemon zest, bay, and rosemary.


To prepare the brain for the dish, you will need to add some ingredients as follows:

  • The brain part is placed individually and soaked in salt water for several hours in the refrigerator.
  • An egg is beaten.
  • Lard or sunflower oil as a frying fat.
  • Seasoned flour.
  • Dry bread crumbs.

mock turtle soup 3


Forcemeat Balls

For the meatballs, you will need to prepare the following ingredients:

  • 100 grams of ground beef. For the best taste, use fresh meat. If you’re short on time, frozen meat is a good option.
  • 300 grams of minced pork belly.
  • One teaspoon of chopped parsley.
  • One teaspoon of chopped marjoram.
  • Two beaten eggs.
  • 75 grams of crispy bread crumbs.
  • Pepper and salt.
  • Fresh nutmeg.


The list of ingredients for you to prepare for the soup includes the following dishes and spices:

  • 200ml sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper.
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace.
  • Minced parsley.
  • Forcemeat balls.
  • Brain.
  • Salt.
  • Double cream.
  • Blend beurre manie with a balanced ratio of butter and flour to create a creamy texture.

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Making the soup 


Once you have all the ingredients ready, you can start making a delicious and flavorful soup. The steps will also include sub-steps.

Preparing Calf’s Head

Usually, butchers will split the calves’ heads in half as soon as you buy them at the store.

After bringing it home, proceed to clean it by soaking it in a dilute salt water solution. Cover the top with cling film and store in the refrigerator.

You should separate the brain and process it later. This part will enhance the flavor of the dish, although the preliminary processing is a bit complicated.

After you have soaked the head in the salt water for a few hours, take it out and rinse. Place the top in a large saucepan and simmer slowly.

To avoid clouding the water, use a spoon to skim off the foam continuously during the cooking process. You need to wait about 90 minutes for the head to soften and fully cook.

While waiting for the meat to cook, heat some golden butter in a large saucepan. Fry the beef pieces from the top until cooked through.

Don’t forget to season with spices and herbs while frying the meat to enhance the aroma and flavor. After that, you should turn down the heat and let all ingredients seep in slowly.

Returning to the veal head and broth, you should carefully filter out any excess meat.

You should also cut off the tongue and clean the hair on the head. These pieces of meat can be chopped and continued to be used in the next stage.

For the broth, strain out all the spices and herbs. For a stronger flavor, you can reduce the amount of broth.

Preparing The Brain

The first step in brain pretreatment is to remove the vascular membrane. You will need to place the brain carefully on top of the cutting board so that its underside is facing up.

This area is home to the thickest layer of blood vessel membranes. Let’s start here because this area is the simplest and most accessible.

Carefully separate the membranes from the brain with your hands by pulling them out of the folds. It will be a bit awkward at first, but you will get used to it quickly.

After cleaning the brains, soak them in dilute salt water for about six minutes. Take it out, wash it and let it dry.

Cut the brain into thick slices. During the cutting, if you see any blood vessels, remove it.

Prepare three clean plates and place the flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs on top one by one. Roll the slices of the brain just cut onto each plate in the previous order.

Place the pan on the stove and bring to a boil some oil or butter. Then you put the brain slices in and fry them for about three minutes, don’t let this dish get too golden.

Making Forcemeat Balls

The method of making meatballs is very simple. All you need to do is mix all the above ingredients together.

Then add seasonings like pepper and salt to the mixture. Ball the meat into mouth-watering balls and lightly fry them in lard or butter.

Cooking The Soup

After you have cooked the veal head and filtered the broth, place the pot of broth on the stove and bring it to a boil over low heat.

To thicken the soup’s texture, pour the beurre manie mixture into the pot. Taste the seasoning and sherry inside until you are satisfied with its taste.

If you like the dish greasy, add a little double cream to the inside of the pan.

Finally, add in the meatballs, deep-fried brain and pieces of meat. Serve on the table while the dish is still hot.

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Storing the soup

How To Store, Freeze, And Reheat 

The mock turtle stew can usually serve a party of six to eight people. So, you will most likely make too much and leave a surplus of soup if there are not enough participants.

In that situation, find a way to preserve this soup and reheat it for later days.

The best storage and freezing methods for mock turtle stew include the following three steps:


You need to use an airtight container with a lid to preserve this sophisticated and delicious soup.

Don’t leave the soup outside for too long as bacteria can grow inside the texture. Make sure you put the soup back in the box no more than two hours after finishing your meal.

Store the box in the refrigerator. This dish can last for four days and still retain its delicious taste.


If you want to preserve this dish for a longer time, freezing is a necessary action.

Similar to storing in the refrigerator, you need to store the soup in an airtight container with a lid. Don’t forget to leave a space of about two inches at the top.

The reason for this is that the volume of the soups will increase as they freeze. If you do not leave space, the box can break at any time.

The shelf life of frozen soup is three months.


If you ever want to eat foods again, be sure to defrost them completely before reheating. Pour the soup into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat until the mixture comes to a boil.

mock turtle soup

Green turtle

Does Mock Turtle Soup Contain Real Turtles?

No, there is no turtle meat in the mock turtle stew. The main ingredients of this dish are mainly beef, offal, herbs, and some spices.

Right from the name of this dish shows that. The word “mock” implies that this is just a copy of the real turtle soup.

The underlying reason for the creation of this recipe was the scarcity of green turtles. Over-hunting leads this species to be endangered.


Mockturtle soup is a long-standing traditional dish from England. Although its name may be confusing and confusing to some, the main ingredients are offal and beef.

The taste of the dish is very delicious when it is a harmonious combination of many different herbs and ingredients. The sophisticated way of processing is also one of the reasons why this dish is so special.

Try making it when the weather turns cold and enjoy it with your loved ones, this dish is sure to warm you up.

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