WW1 Rationing: Fish Mock Turtle Soup

Posted in - Mrs C.S. Peel's Recipes & Rationing & Recipes on February 3rd 2014 0 Comments

A First World War Rationing recipe using a fish head just had to be tried.  I have re-jigged it little on insofar as I am encompassing all of the ingredients other than the bones rather than straining the liquid as recommended.  Had I used some of the bones it would not be far off a bouillabaisse.


In the words of Granny Dot:

‘Materials. – Cod’s head, 4 oz. onions, 4 oz. carrot, 1 tablespoonful oil, 1
lemon, 1 teaspoonful basil, half-teaspoonful marjoram, 1 clove of garlic, 1 bay
leaf and equal amount thyme, 1 dozen peppercorns, 6 allspice, 1 dozen
corianders, 1 bunch parsley stalks, 3 pints water, 3 oz. baked flour.
Method.- Slice the onions and carrot and place in a saucepan with the garlic, oil, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, allspice, corianders and parsley stalks.  Cut the cod’s head into pieces – e.g. (1) Tongue, (2) top of the head, (3) and (4) cheeks, (5) and (6) shoulders if left on the head.
Place the trimmings on the bed of vegetables, and arrange the pieces of cod’s head on the top; sprinkle with salt .  Add the lemon juice, cover with a lid, and simmer until the fish is cooked in its own liquor.  Carefully lift the pieces of cod out of the pan and keep warm with a little stock.  Remove the liquid of the fish, which reserve until later, now add the water to the remaining bones, etc. Boil then cook for 10 minutes.  Strain the liquid, make it up to 1 quart, to which add the flour (baked dry in an oven until it is fawn coloured), and whisk the stock to separate the flour, which does not lump after baking.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Now add the basil and marjoram and the reserved fish liquid, season to taste, and add a pinch of cayenne pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes more, then strain.  Serve with cut lemon.
The fish used for making of the soup can be served to follow the soup with a fish sauce and potatoes, or can be used for fish pies, patties, cakes, salads and many other dishes.  The heads of other fish can be used equally well for the purpose, but cod’s head has a large amount of gelatine, which of course is required to make this kind of soup.’
(The Eat-Less-Meat Book, 1917, Mrs C.S. Peel)

2 tbsp oil
1 fish head (I used sea bass but most white fish would be fine. I only used it instead of cod because we had salt-baked seabass for lunch yesterday)
4oz./113g chopped carrot
4 oz./113g sliced onion
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
a few peppercorns
1 lemon
9 fluid oz./500mls water
1 fish head (I used sea bass but most white fish would be fine. I only used it instead of cod because we had salt-baked seabass for lunch yesterday)

1. With a very sharp knife remove any fish meat you can from the head.  Although we are advised to use the tongue, I drew back at that!
2.  Put the oil in a pan and add the vegetables, herbs. lemon juice and 2 large pieces of lemon zest.  Season.
3. Place the fish you have removed from the head on top of the vegetables so that it is cooks through. This will not take long.
4. Remove the fish which has cooked through and set aside.
5.  Add the water and the fish head and bubble away for ten minutes.
6. Remove the head and blend the soup.
7.  Serve with the flesh of the fish in the bowl.


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