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Chef Justin Devillier’s Turtle Chili

The New Orleans chef and restaurateur shares his recipe for this Southern delight

Chef Justin Devillier’s turtle chili is a great fall recipe. Devillier, owner of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, served his chili topped over a hot dog at the annual Taylor Grocery field trip and dinner at the 2015 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium, and it was a hit.



  • 10 Tablespoons bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons dry mustard powder
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped basil
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin


  • 5 Pounds ground turtle meat
  • 4 Cups finely chopped onion
  • 2 Cups finelychopped celery
  • 6 Cups pureed tomato
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 Cups demi-glace
  • 1/3 Cup dry sherry
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice



Mix ingredients in a large bowl.


In a large rondeau, brown all of the turtle meat.
Sweat the onions and celery with the turtle.
Add the tomatoes and cook for ten minutes.
Add the seasoning mixture, demi-glace, and garlic to the pot.
Simmer for 45 minutes.
Add the sherry and lemon juice.
Feel free to adjust the seasoning as needed with more lemon, sherry, and salt and pepper. 

Serves 10.