Snapper soup, Caouane, if your from the south, or turtle soup has been around for ages. Only recently did it start getting a bad wrap. I always say, stick your finger in a snapping turtle’s mouth, and you won’t feel so bad about eating it. This soup is slightly spicy, bold, and all around delicious! It was served at presidential dinners until the soup went the way of pepper pots and just disappeared almost over night. Time to bring it back!
I remember as a kid, my granddaddy bringing home MONSTER snappers that were the size of a car! At least that’s how they looked to a young kid…He’d dispatch it, clean it, and go to town on soup! This is a New Orleans (Nawlans) style soup that starts with the base of most of creole food, and that’s a dark, or a dirty, roux. Take your time and let that roux develop it’s flavor.
1 1/2 lbs Turtle Meat
8 oz Butter
1 C Flour
1 1/2 C Chopped Onions
2 T Minced Shallots
1/4 C Green Bell Pepper
1/4 C Celery
3 Bay Leaves
6 Sprigs of Thyme
2 T Fresh Minced Garlic
1 C Chopped Tomatoes
1/2 C Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 C Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 C Dry Sherry
8 C Turtle Stock
S+P To Taste
I’m going to skip showing you how to dispatch and break down the turtle. It’s a VERY messy job. If you can get the meat already butchered, then go for it. When you cook the meat, put the turtle meat in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and the water. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon transfer the meat to a platter. Cut the meat into 1/2 inch dice and reserve the liquid.
Melt your butter in the pan and stir in your flour. Over medium low heat, keep stirring your roux cooking the flour.
As the roux cooks, it’ll pass through three stages. White is when you first start to see it bubble, blonde is the in between stage, and brown is as far as you can go before it burns. This is the stage we’re looking for. It’ll take about 10-15 minutes.
Add the onion, shallot, celery and peppers. This is called a trinity. Stir occasionally and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add your thyme, bay leaves, chopped tomatoes, and Turtle meat. Cook for another 5 minutes. We’re cooking the tomatoes a little bit trying to get a little color and also developing it as a thickener on top of the roux. The longer you cook a roux, the less thickening power it has.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, sherry, lemon juice, and turtle stock. Bring to a boil, and reduce to medium heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Eat it plain, add crackers, I love it with some rice, hot sauce and a little extra sherry. It’s one of those soups that is always delicious no matter what time of year it is!
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