Turtle soup is a great delicacy in Louisiana. The flavor of the turtle meat is both delicate and intense; there are supposedly seven distinct flavors of meat within the turtle. Commander’s Palace Restaurant, in New Orleans’ Garden District, is famous for its turtle soup — it’s a dark, rich, thick, stew-type dish, filling enough to be a meal in itself.
Commander’s Palace Turtle Soup au Sherry
- 10 ounces (2-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound turtle meat, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup minced celery (4 stalks)
- 2 medium onions, minced (2 medium)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 cups tomato purée
- 1 quart beef stock
- NOTE: If turtle bones are available, add them to the beef bones when making the stock for this dish
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, as needed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 5 hard-boiled eggs, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
- 6 teaspoons dry sherry
Melt 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the roux is light brown. Set aside.
In a 5-quart saucepan, melt the remaining butter and add turtle meat. Cook over high heat until the meat is brown. Add celery, onions, g.arlic and seasonings, and cook until the vegetables are transparent.
Add tomato purée, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the roux and cook over low heat, stirring, until the soup is smooth and thickened. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, eggs and parsley.
Remove from heat and serve. At the table, add 1 teaspoon sherry to each soup plate.