Sopa de cabeça de carneiro


Sheep head soup

This dish is not for the squeamish; it is included primarily for its historical interest. Early Macanese were evidently omnivorous.

Sopa de cabeça de carneiro (sheep head soup) from “Guilly” Canavarro Remedios

We have not yet tested this recipe. It is recorded here to allow experimentation and verification.

1 sheep’s head and 4 trotters
3 quarts | 1.8l water
¼ lb | 110g pearl barley
3 large carrots
1 Chinese white radish
2 onions, halved
6 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
salt to taste

When buying the sheep’s head, tell the butcher to slit the head open lengthwise; wash the head well, scraping the little hairy parts which may be left there; wash inside the ears and take off the eyes, nose, lips and teeth if possible.

Soak in salt and water for a few minutes, bring out and put in a pot, cover with water and bring to the boil. throw away this water, rinse 2-3 times in clean water, put back in the pot with 3 quarts of water and bring to the boil. When this is done, add the bay leaf, onions, carrots, white radish, peppercorns and salt and let them simmer till the meat is quite tender. Bring out the onions, carrots and white radish and cut in very small cubes.

Then bring out the sheep’s head, take out the brains carefully and put aside. Take off the whole of the tongue and peel off the surface skin. When they are quite cold cut in cubes a little larger than the carrots, etc.

Bring out the whole of the head, put on a plate, and draw out the skinny and meaty parts. Take the better parts and cut into pieces. When this is done, put all aside.

Strain the soup into another pot, being careful not to let any bones into the soup. Wash the barley well, add to the soup and cook till tender, then add carrots, white radish, onions, etc. Just before serving add the brain and tongue. These two are to be cut when quite cold as otherwise they will break and will not look neat.

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