Mock Turtle Soup - A Childhood Favorite

Mock Turtle Soup
Mock Turtle Soup | Source

History and Urban Legends

Mock Turtle Soup originated in England in the mid-18th century. It later became a traditional meal in the Oldenburg and Ammerland regions of Germany where it was referred to as Mockturtlesuppe . The Mock Turtle was mentioned by Lewis Carroll in his story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Alas, the Mock Turtle suffered its demise just as the baby Naugas perished at the hands of the Nauga hunters in search of their skins to make Naugahyde furniture that became popular in the 1960s and 70s. I was the president of the local chapter of the “Save the Baby Nauga” foundation while I was in high school, but it was to no avail as they are now extinct.

I never had the opportunity or pleasure to partake of the turtle soup that was originally made from the meat of the Green Sea Turtle that is now a protected species. My first experience with turtle meat came when I was eight years old. I was at my favorite fishing hole dreaming of that lunker catfish that lurked in the depths of a secluded pond when I was jolted into reality by something dragging my rod and reel into the water. Gathering my senses and working meticulously I landed something altogether different than I expected; a 10 pound Snapping Turtle.

Upon arriving home with my prize, my mother, who learned while growing up during the depression never to waste good food, told me to kill it and bring her the meat. She then proceeded to make this luscious and savory soup that became my favorite till this day. Unfortunately snappers were never a guaranteed catch so I needed something to satisfy my appetite until I could land another victim. Worthmore Food Products, a Cincinnati based company, made a delicious Mock Turtle Soup from beef, lemons and eggs that appeased this hunger.

Where's the Beef?

Although the protected status of the Green Sea Turtle halted the creation of this delectable concoction it did not suppress the desire for the flavor. An alternative ingredient needed to be found to replace that texture and savor of the turtle meat. Some of the older recipes called for organ meats and brains such as calf’s feet and calf’s head. More recent listings recommend ox tail or chuck roast. If you have never had turtle meat it would seem that it would not make much difference. It is the blending of the flavors that will whet your appetite for more.

Notes

This hearty and savory soup can be made on the stove in a large pot but I prefer to cook it in a Crockpot on low for several hours. This allows the spices to blend nicely while filling the air with their aromatic essence.

You can choose your meat according to your particular taste. Ox tail, chuck roast and even ground chuck make for an excellent combination. I prefer the chuck roast cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes and then shredded after cooking all day to give the soup that meaty texture.

Ingredients

Quantity
Measure
Ingredient
1
large
Onion (finely chopped)
1
Tbsp
Butter
2
Tbsp
Olive Oil
2
lbs
Chuck Roast (or other meat)
1
clove
Garlic (minced)
3
whole
Cloves
1/4
tsp
Allspice
1
 
Bay Leaf
2
Tbsp
Flour
3
cups
Water
3
cups
Chicken Stock
1
cup
Tomatoes (skinned and diced)
 
 
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/2
 
Lemon (minced rind and all)
2
 
Hard Boiled Eggs (diced)

Directions

  1. Heat butter and oil in large skillet
  2. Add meat and brown slightly
  3. Transfer meat to Crockpot and add spices and herbs
  4. Add flour and stir to coat meat and vegetables
  5. Add water and stock, turn Crockpot to low
  6. Add all remaining ingredients except eggs
  7. Allow soup to simmer for 6 to 8 hours
  8. When dish is ready shred the beef if necessary
  9. Add hard boiled egg and serve

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Summary

This lemony and savory soup makes an excellent starter to a meal or can be a meal in itself. Its unique blend of flavors and textures plays with the pallet to produce a symphony of pleasure. It brings back memories of my childhood with every bite. Be adventurous and give it a try. You may produce new memories of your own.

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Comments 8 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

This sounds like a nice hearty soup and I will try it soon. Sure glad it does not have turtle in it. I found the background of your article very interesting.


ColibriPhoto profile image

ColibriPhoto 4 years ago from Quito, Ecuador Author

Thanks Susan, it is a great soup. The lemon gives it that sour flavor that is common in some German cuisine such as ox tail soup. The part about the baby naugas was an urban legend back in the 60s and 70s but we did have a lot of fun with it. When I think about recipes they often bring back childhood memories.


tjustis profile image

tjustis 4 years ago from Colorado

This sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to try this soon. I love finding new ways to use lemons in cooking.


ColibriPhoto profile image

ColibriPhoto 4 years ago from Quito, Ecuador Author

Hope you enjoy. It really adds an interesting flavor when you bite into a piece of lemon rind. Heightens the experience. Thanks for the comment.


itsmonkeyboy profile image

itsmonkeyboy 4 years ago from London, UK

Nice hub, and very interesting topic. I may well have to borrow your recipe one day, it's getting cold here and it sounds like the kind of dish that could really warm one up.


ColibriPhoto profile image

ColibriPhoto 4 years ago from Quito, Ecuador Author

Thanks MB, It is a great soup for cold days. I like to eat it with crackers. Let me know how you like it.


youmeget profile image

youmeget 4 years ago

Nice recipe. Will it one of these days.


ColibriPhoto profile image

ColibriPhoto 4 years ago from Quito, Ecuador Author

Thank you Youmeget, I hope you enjoy it.

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