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best turtle soup

Recipe by
Donna Graffagnino
Bayou Country, LA

Turtle Soup is almost as synonymous with Nola Cuisine as Gumbo, in fact, it probably outsells the Gumbo in a lot of establishments. Unlike the clear Turtle Soups made in other parts of the world, the Louisiana variety is a dark, robust soup, bordering on a stew. There are also Mock Turtle Soups which are good as well, usually made with Beef and Veal. Turtles are said to contain about 7 different flavors of meat, so it would be very easy to slip a more inexpensive meat in with the Turtle, I’ve even heard of some places slipping in some Alligator. (See Notes Below)

yield 4 serving(s)
prep time 25 Min
cook time 1 Hr 30 Min
method Stove Top

Ingredients For best turtle soup

  • 1/2 c
    unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c
    ap flour
  • 4 Tbsp
    unsalted butter
  • 1 lb
    turtle meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 c
    onion, finely diced
  • 1 c
    celery, finely diced
  • 1/4 c
    green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tsp
    garlic, minced
  • 2
    fresh bay leaves
  • 1 can
    diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can
    6 oz tomato sauce* (optional)
  • 1 qt
    beef stock
  • 1/2 tsp
    cayenne pepper or more to taste
  • 1 dash
    ground allspice
  • 1 Tbsp
    fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tsp
    fresh marjoram, chopped
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c
    fresh lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp
    worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp
  • 3
    hard boiled eggs, whites diced, yolks smashed with a fork
  • lemon slices
  • 5 tsp
    italian parsley, finely chopped

How To Make best turtle soup

  • 1
    Melt the half cup of butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk in the flour, cook to make a peanut butter colored roux. Set aside.
  • 2
    In a large saucepan or dutch oven, melt the 4 Tbsp of unsalted butter over medium-high heat, add the diced turtle meat and saute until nicely browned.
  • 3
    Lower the heat to medium, add both types of onions, the celery, and garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Saute until the vegetables are tender.
  • 4
    Add the tomatoes, season with a little salt so they will break down, cook for 10 minutes.
  • 5
    Add the tomato sauce, beef stock, worcestershire, cayenne, allspice, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally and skimming off any impurities that may rise to the surface.
  • 6
    Whisk in the roux, simmer until thickened and smooth. Add the thyme, and marjoram, simmer for 15-20 minutes more.
  • 7
    Add the lemon juice, 3 tsp of the parsley, and the smashed egg yolk, heat through
  • 8
    Serve garnished with lemon slices, diced egg whites, and parsley. Add the sherry at the table, about 1-2 tsp per bowl. Enjoy!
  • 9
    *NOTES: As far as finding Turtle Meat in your area, you may have a bit of a challenge. If you have a great Asian Market in your area, it’s probably your best bet, they may even have them live if you would like to butcher them yourself. It’s a messy business though, with a lot of blood and Post Mortem squirming. I buy frozen. If you can purchase bone-in Turtle Meat, do so! You can Roast the bones and infuse the flavor into your Beef Stock. Roast them in a 400 degree F oven until a nice deep brown, then add them to your Beef Stock and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. If you like your turtle soup with a rich brown gravy, leave out the tomato sauce. Adding the tomato sauce will add another layer of flavor and will only change the color of the soup slightly.