STEWED WATER TURTLES, OR TERRAPINS.
Select the largest, thickest and fattest, the females being the best; they should be alive when brought from market. Wash and put them alive into boiling water, add a little salt, and boil them until thoroughly done, or from ten to fifteen minutes, after which take off the shell, extract the meat, and remove carefully the sand-bag and gall; also all the entrails; they are unfit to eat, and are no longer used in cooking terrapins for the best tables. Cut the meat into pieces, and put it into a stewpan with its eggs, and sufficient fresh butter to stew it well. Let it stew till quite hot throughout, keeping the pan carefully covered, that none of the flavor may escape, but shake it over the fire while stewing. In another pan make a sauce of beaten yolk of egg, highly flavored with Madeira or sherry, and powdered nutmeg and mace, a gill of currant jelly, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and salt to taste, enriched with a large lump of fresh butter. Stir this sauce well over the fire, and when it has almost come to a boil take it off. Send the terrapins to the table hot in a covered dish, and the sauce separately in a sauce tureen, to be used by those who like it, and omitted by those who prefer the genuine flavor of the terrapins when simply stewed with butter. This is now the usual mode of dressing terrapins in Maryland, Virginia, and many other parts of the South, and will be found superior to any other. If there are no eggs in the terrapin, “egg balls” may be substituted.
STEWED TERRAPIN, WITH CREAM.
Place in a saucepan, two heaping tablespoonfuls of butter and one of dry flour; stir it over the fire until it bubbles; then gradually stir in a pint of cream, a teaspoonful of salt, a quarter of a teaspoonful of white pepper, the same of grated nutmeg, and a very small pinch of cayenne. Next, put in a pint of terrapin meat and stir all until it is scalding hot. Move the saucepan to the back part of the stove or range, where the contents will keep hot but not boil; then stir in four well-beaten yolks of eggs; do not allow the terrapin to boil after adding the eggs, but pour it immediately into a tureen containing a gill of good Madeira and a tablespoonful of lemon juice. Serve hot.
Plunge the terrapins alive into boiling water, and let them remain until the sides and lower shell begin to crack—this will take less than an hour; then remove them and let them get cold; take off the shell and outer skin, being careful to save all the blood possible in opening them. If there are eggs in them put them aside in a dish; take all the inside out, and be very careful not to break the gall, which must be immediately removed or it will make the rest bitter. It lies within the liver. Then cut up the liver and all the rest of the terrapin into small pieces, adding the blood and juice that have flowed out in cutting up; add half a pint of water; sprinkle a little flour over them as you place them in the stewpan; let them stew slowly ten minutes, adding salt, black and cayenne pepper, and a very small blade of mace; then add a gill of the best brandy and half a pint of the very best sherry wine; let it simmer over a slow fire very gently. About ten minutes or so, before you are ready to dish them, add half a pint of rich cream, and half a pound of sweet butter, with flour, to prevent boiling; two or three minutes before taking them off the fire peel the eggs carefully and throw them in whole. If there should be no eggs use the yolks of hens’ eggs, hard boiled. This recipe is for four terrapins.