Turtle Soup

“I gotta little Cajun in my soul.”

At least for me, Turtle Soup is the benchmark for Cajun cuisine. My first introduction was at Ernest’s in Shreveport when I was a teenager. Over these past many years I’ve sampled Turtle Soup whenever I can find it on a menu … I even enjoyed “Mock Turtle Soup” at the original Ralph & Kacoo’s … undoubtedly the best though, was at Commander’s Palace in NOLA.

The posting of this recipe marks the first of what will be several resulting in my attending several cooking classes at a NOLA culinary school in March, 2017 … an account of that experience can be read in a story appearing on this website under Rambling, Rants, & Misc. Stuff.

This recipe comes from Crescent City Cooks of NOLA. This is not a simple recipe; it is not a quick-to-prepare recipe … however, the result is well worth the effort and the time spent!

Ingredients:

1 pound turtle meat (may substitute veal or lean sirloin)
1-2 quarts water/seafood stock
½ cup high-heat cooking oil
½ cup flour
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 Tbsps tomato paste
2 cans of diced tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsps Worcestershire sauce
4 stalks green onion, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
Cajun/Creole seasoning to taste (low sodium preferred)
1 bay leaf
½ tsp allspice
½ cup dry sherry
4 boiled eggs, chopped

Directions:

1. Put the turtle meat in a pot with water slightly covering the meat. Simmer until done, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the meat and rough chop it and then finely shred it in a food processor.

I forgot the warm, crusty french bread!


2. Finely dice or pulse the onion, bell pepper and celery in a food processor. Finely dice or pulse the tomatoes in a food processor. Hold separately. Mince the garlic.
3. Make the roux: heat oil on medium high heat to just below smoke point; add flour. Stir constantly, adjusting the heat down to medium when roux begins to smoke. Cook to a rich chocolate color.
4. To the roux, add prepared onion, bell pepper and celery. Add 3 pinches of salt and 1 Tbsp of Cajun/Creole seasoning. Sauté on medium for about 10 minutes until the mixture is glossy.
5. To the roux, add tomato paste and cook 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and a pinch of salt. Cook down the tomatoes for another 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for two minutes and add the prepared turtle meat. Add bay leaf and allspice.
6. Simmer on low, covered for about 45 minutes. Add the parsley and green onion tops, and adjust seasoning if desired.
7. Serve with dry sherry, if desired, and/or chopped, hard-boiled egg.
Serves 8 to 12