Serves people

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Turtle Soup


  • 3 lbs. turtle meat or veal shoulder or a combination of the two, including any bones available
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • Peel of one lemon, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
  • 1/2 of a 10-oz. bag of spinach, well washed and chopped


Simmer the turtle meat and/or veal with bones in a gallon of water, along with the bay leaves, cloves, lemon peel, salt and black peppercorns. Keep the simmer going very slowly for about two hours.

Strain the stock, reserving the liquid and the meat. If you don't have at least three quarts of stock, add water or veal stock to get up to that quantity. Chop the meat into small shreds and set aside.

Make a medium-dark roux (the color of a well-used penny) with the butter and the flour. When the roux is the right color, add the celery, onions, bell pepper, and garlic, and cook until the vegetables are soft. Add the thyme, marjoram, sherry, Worcestershire, and tomato puree. Cook for a minute, then add the stock.

Lower the heat and add the pepper, hot sauce, and meat. Simmer for a half-hour, then add the egg, parsley and spinach and simmer 10 minutes more. It's ready to serve now, but it gets better if you let it simmer for an hour or two more.

Correct seasonings with salt and black pepper and serve in heated bowls.