Green Turtle Soup

Soupe a la Tortue Vert

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

Appears in

The Picayune's Creole Cook Book

By The Times Picayune Publishing Company

Published 1901

  • About

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds of Turtle Meat, or a 2-Pound Turtle
  • 2 Fine Large Onions
  • 6 Cloves
  • A Square Inch of Ham
  • 6 Allspice
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoonfuls of Flour
  • ΒΌ of a Small Lemon
  • 2 Hard-Boiled Eggs
  • Parsley, Thyme and Bay Leaf
  • Salt, Pepper and Cayenne to Taste

Method

The creoles pride themselves upon their famous Soupe a la Tortue; and justly, the old saying that only a good Creole cook knows how to make a good Turtle Soup being testified to by epicurean visitors from every country.

The following is one of the simplest and best ways to make Turtle Soup β€” a recipe that may always be relied upon, and one that has been used from generation to generation in the most aristocratic Creole homes:

In making Turtle Soup, Green Turtle is always the best for this purpose. Select two pounds of Green Turtle meat, if the Turtle is not bought whole. This amount will make a Soup for six persons. Increase proportionately. If the Turtle is bought whole, first cut off the head. To do this properly, the Turtle should be hung with the head downwards, and a very sharp knife should be used to cut off the head as close as possible. Often, for hours after this operation is performed, the Turtle will exhibit extraordinary signs of life, the flesh quivering constantly. To remove the shells, first separate the upper from the lower shell, being exceedingly careful to avoid touching the gall bladder, which is very large. If penetrated, the contents running over the Turtle meat would render it utterly unfit for use.

Clean the Turtle by washing thoroughly in cold water. Then put the meat and entrails into a saucepan and parboil about ten minutes. Be careful to save this stock of water. Chop an onion very fine, and the ham into very fine pieces. Cut the Turtle meat into one-inch pieces, mash the cloves and the allspice very fine and chop the thyme and bay leaf. Brown the onions in a tablespoonful of butter or lard and add immediately the Turtle meat. Brown together slightly, and after ten minutes add the chopped ham. Let this continue browning and then add two cloves of garlic, chopped fine, and the thyme, bay leaf (minced fine), cloves and allspice (ground), all mixed together, and lay on the Turtle. Stir this almost constantly to prevent burning and add two tablespoonfuls of flour that have been rubbed smooth in a tablespoonful of butter, stirring constantly all the time. Then cover the meat with the water in which the Turtle was parboiled, adding gradually until the desired consistency is reached. About three quarts of water will be the required amount. Season this with salt, black pepper and Cayenne to taste, and boil slowly for fully an hour, stirring almost constantly. After cooking one hour, taste, and if not seasoned sufficiently, season again and taste. Then chop one-quarter of a small lemon, and put it in the Soup. Let it continue to cook, and when well done β€” that is, when no blood exudes from the Turtle after sticking it with a fork β€” pour into the tureen. Add the whites and yolks of two hard-boiled eggs, chopped fine, and one good glass of Sherry Wine, and the Soup is ready to serve. This is a dish fit for a king and is most highly recommended as a genuine Creole Turtle Soup.