Turtle Soup for Beginners
For many the idea of turtle soup is a foreign as Yak’s milk of a plate of puffer fish, but for many it is a traditional and tasty meal. History claims that Abraham Lincoln served it at his inauguration and given its popularity at the time I can believe it. However, like many delicacies turtle soup is sometimes an acquired taste.
Turtle soup has many “traditional” recipes, using a variety of other soups as the base. Sherry is popular in many of these recipes but I find that this is sometimes a little bit overpowering. With that in mind I would like to share my recipe for “Turtle Soup for Beginners”, which is based on a simple chicken soup recipe. Although traditionalist may argue that the chicken broth and lack of sherry detracts from the turtle flavor I prefer to think it “softens” the flavor and makes for a better introduction for those who have never eaten turtle.
2 lbs cleaned snapping turtle meat
4 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
I large onion, diced
1 bay leaf
½ cup white rice
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 slices bacon
Coarse black pepper
Combine turtle meat, broth & water in large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Skim fat or foam from surface as needed. Remove meat, drain and allow to cool – you will be handling it again shortly.
Place bacon in frying pan and begin to cook.
Add carrots, celery, onion & bay leaf to broth. Bring to boil , reduce to a simmer and cook approximately 10 minutes – vegetables will have softened but still have some crunch. Add rice and cook another 10-12 minutes, or until rice is al dente.
While vegetables are cooking dice cooled turtle meat into small cubes. Once bacon has created enough grease to coat bottom of pan add diced meat. Cook turtle meat and bacon until outside of meat has crisped, but not over cooked, seasoning with pepper to taste. Remove bacon and drain turtle meat. If you do not wish to use bacon you can sauté the turtle meat in butter or even light oil. However, this will not produce the same final texture and you will also need to season to taste with sea salt
Now add turtle meat to broth & vegetable mixture, add parsley and cook approximately one minute, stirring frequently.
Need help finding the turtles for this soup? Check here for some helpful tips! Hunting Snapping Turtles