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Wedding Recipes: Turtle Soup

  December 30

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In this spirit of wedding week, let’s talk food.

As many of you know, the hubs and I are both born and raised in Louisiana. So, we had some amazing Louisiana food at our wedding including Couchon de Lait Cobbler (a yummy mix of Louisiana yams, greens, etc.), seafood pasta, and a delicacy: turtle soup. Now, I know turtle soup sounds gross to lots of folks and might conjure up images like this:

But in reality, it’s pretty delicious. We actually had the soup served in little espresso cups on a tray passed around by waiters so people could just pick up the cup, have a little taste and set it back on the tray. It was a big hit and didn’t cost anything since pass around trays were included in our package.
Here is the turtle soup recipe from Commander’s Palace, which is Emeril’s restaurant in New Orleans in case you’re feeling sort of wild this weekend. And, I do realize you might not be able to pick up turtle at the grocery store… Louisiana is a special place, haha. So, lots of people substitute veal for turtle in these recipes. My dad says they end up tasting about the same after it’s all said and done anyway. 🙂
Here you go:
  • 10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound turtle meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
  • 2 medium onions, minced (2 medium)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato purée
  • 1 quart beef stock
    • NOTE: If turtle bones are available, add them to the beef bones when making the stock for this dish
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, as needed
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 6 teaspoons dry sherry

Melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is light brown. Set aside.

In a 5-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add turtle meat. Cook over high heat until the meat is brown. Add celery, onions, garlic and seasonings, and cook until the vegetables are transparent.
Add tomato purée, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roux and cook over low heat, stirring, until the soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, eggs and parsley.
Remove from heat and serve. At the table, add 1 teaspoon sherry to each soup plate. (Psst. the sherry is really important. Without it, it’s not turtle soup!)

Happy cooking!
Do y’all have any fun and bizarre (but amazingly tasty) local recipes where you’re from?

7 responses to “Wedding Recipes: Turtle Soup

  1. I would totally eat this soup! minus the turtle… I grew up working at pet stores and my mom still has the 4 turtles my sister and I brought home years ago! But by all means – enjoy the heck out of it! <3 hehe

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. Hi Cat, It is so nice to hear from a fellow Richmond blogger. I love Louisiana food and I actually worked in New Orleans for almost a year. My son had pet turtles growing up and I think this would keep me from enjoying this soup. I wouldn’t turn down a shrimp po-boy or a plate of beignets though! Happy New Year!
    xo, Sherry

  3. I had turtle soup at Commander’s Palace last January when I visited New Orleans!!! It was pretty good… the turtle reminded me of clam.

  4. The turtle soup is really sad. Turtle populations are extremely threatened in America because of your appetite for a damn soup. There are hundreds of other soup choices out there.

    1. Thanks for your comment. This particular turtle soup is actually made from overpopulated snapping turtles in Louisiana that are pretty harmful to the ecosystem and to kids/dogs that they bite.

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