Creole Louisiana Snapping Turtle Soup

Ingredients

For the turtle stock

  • 2 s  gallons beef stock
  • 3 Pounds  Louisiana snapping turtle ground meat
  •   quart chopped onion
  • 2 Cups  peeled and chopped carrot
  • 2 Cups  chopped celery
  • 2 s  heads garlic, halved
  • 1/2 Tablespoon  whole black peppercorns
  •   fresh bay leaf
  •   bunch parsley stems
  • 1/2   bunch fresh thyme

For the turtle soup base

  • 1/3 Cup  vegetable oil
  • 1/4 Cup  plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup  diced onions
  • 1/2 Cup  diced celery
  • 1/4 Cup  diced bell peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon  minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons  canned tomato purée
  • 2 Tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 2 s  quarts turtle stock
  • 1 1/4 Pound  cooked turtle meat from the stock
  •    Zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 1/3 Teaspoon  ground thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1/5 Teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  ground mace
  •  Pinch of  red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons  Chow Chow
  • 1/2   bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon  salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon  black pepper
  • 1 1/4 Tablespoon  granulated garlic
  • 3/4 Tablespoons  Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/8 Tablespoons  lemon juice
  • 1/4 Cup  sliced scallions
  • 2 Tablespoons  chopped parsley

For the deviled quail eggs

  • 6 s  quail eggs
  • 3 1/2 s  egg yolks from hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon  Dijon mustard
  •  Pinch of  cayenne
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  curry powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon  lemon juice
  • 3/4 Tablespoons  sweet pickle relish
  • 3/4 Teaspoons  hot sauce, preferably Crystal
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  white pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon  kosher salt

For the Chow Chow paint

  • 1/4 Cup  Chow Chow
  • 2 Tablespoons  vegetable oil
  • 1/8 Teaspoon  turmeric
  •    Salt, to taste

For the soup

  • 3 Cups  turtle soup base
  • 12 s  deviled quail egg halves
  • 1/4 Cup  micro parsley
  • 8 Teaspoons  Chow Chow paint

This soup recipe is the specialty at Restaurant R'evolution, located in New Orleans. Although it's definitely a weekend project for home cooks, it's well worth the trouble. Or, you could just fly down to my restaurant and order it off the menu.

Directions

For the turtle stock

In a heavy-bottomed stockpot, combine the stock with the turtle meat and bring to a low simmer. Tie the vegetables, herbs, and spices in a cheesecloth sachet and add to the pot. (As the pot simmers, scum will rise to the surface. These are protein particles from the turtle meat and they must be skimmed off regularly throughout the process. Otherwise, they will re-incorporate into the stock and produce a speckled final appearance.)

Cook the turtle meat until tender, about 1 ½ hours, then remove the sachet and discard. Strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer and reserve the meat.

For the turtle soup base

In a large Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly until a dark brown roux is achieved.

Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, and garlic and sauté until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Then, add the tomato purée and paste, blending well into the vegetable mixture.

Add the turtle stock and whisk to blend well. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer. Then, add the turtle meat and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the lemon zest, cloves, thyme, allspice, nutmeg, mace, red pepper flakes, Chow Chow, and bay leaf, and then simmer for 30 more minutes. Continue to add stock as needed to retain a soup-like consistency.

Season with the salt, pepper, and granulated garlic, then add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, scallions, and parsley.

For the deviled quail eggs

Place the quail eggs in a large saucepot of cold water and bring to boil for 4 minutes. Let cool in the water and peel and discard the shells.

Cut the eggs in ½ carefully and remove the yolks. Reserve the egg whites and set aside. Combine the boiled egg yolks and quail yolks with the remaining ingredients. Mix together until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe into the boiled quail egg whites.

For the Chow Chow paint

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, blend together the Chow Chow, oil, and turmeric and season with salt, to taste. Pass through a fine-meshed sieve. Chill until ready to use.

For the soup

Using a pastry brush, paint a stripe across the rim of a soup plate with the Chow Chow paint. Place the deviled quail eggs in the well of the plate, in line with the painted rims. Scatter the micro parsley around the well. Pour 6 ounces of the turtle soup base into the well. Repeat for 3 more bowls.

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