Wild Snap Turtle Soup Recipe

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Wild Snap Turtle Soup is Southern Soul Food all the way down to its roots. Back in the days of slavery and indentured servitude, disadvantaged Americans had to find food for sustenance any way they could. Snap turtles are abundant in the south, and those people discovered they are mighty tasty to eat.

If you are squeamish about eating turtle, you could substitute chicken for this recipe. However, I encourage you to go for the real gusto – give wild snap turtle soup a try. My bet is you will go back for seconds!

Wild Snap Turtle Soup

(Photo Attributed to Author: Wilfried Wittkowsky)

Wild Snap Turtle Soup Recipe-

  • 2-1/2 lb boneless turtle meat, chopped into small bite-sized chunks
  • 8 tbsp. lightly salted butter
  • 2 celery stalks, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped fine
  • 1-1/2 cups minced onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 18 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 bay leaves
  • freshly ground coarse sea salt
  • freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large hard-boiled eggs, rough chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly cooked rice, for serving accompaniment
  1. First off, you will need to make your turtle stock. Put 8 cups of water in a large cooking pot, and place the turtle meat in the water.
  2. Add into the pot the bay leaves and a tablespoon of salt. Bring the water up to a vigorous rolling boil; skim off the scum that will float to the top. Reduce the heat to just a gentle simmer, and cook until the meat is almost fall-apart tender. Depending on the age (and toughness) of the turtle, this should take two hours or more.
  3. Pour the pot contents into a large bowl through a colander or large sieve; retain the broth and keep it warm by placing the bowl in the oven set to its lowest temperature.
  4. Use a Dutch oven if you have one, or, if not, another large soup pot, placed over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring continuously. You want to make a roux similar to the color of peanut butter – about 10 to 12 minutes should do it.
  5. Next, add and stir in the onion, garlic, celery and green pepper, and cook for about 6 more minutes.
  6. Now add in turtle meat and stir everything together well.
  7. Stir the turtle stock in, one cup at a time, the soup has the consistency of gravy. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, cayenne and paprika. Add in enough more of the turtle broth to make the soup thin out some. You want a consistency that is thicker than regular soup, but not quite as thick as gravy.
  8. Gently cook at a mild simmer until the vegetables are softened through – about 15 minutes should do it.
  9. After the veggies are good and cooked through, add in the finishing touches. Stir in the cilantro, lemon zest, eggs and sherry. Season with salt, black pepper and lemon juice, to taste. Stir to combine well, and then simmer the soup for a couple more minutes.
  10. Serve your Wild Snap Turtle Soup with one or two balls of freshly cooked rice.

Note: For lots more delicious, authentic Southern Soul Food recipes, click here.

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6 thoughts on “Wild Snap Turtle Soup Recipe

  1. Well, if hubby happens to catch a wild snapping turtle, I will definitely try this dish, lol. Truly, it does sound like a great cuinary experience, but … I clicked on the link to buy some, and – $175?! Yikes!

  2. I can remember my Uncle coming home with a snapper he’d caught, back when I was a kid. Mum cooked it up in a stew, and it tasted great – kind of a cross between chicken and a “meaty” kind of fish.

    Uncle George is still alive, I’ll have to ask him where to go looking to trap a snap turtle.

  3. I’d sure like to try this, but I clicked on the turtle meat link in the ingredients list, and … DAYUM! Turtle meat is expensive! Maybe I gotta go hunting, lol.

    • Hey Bob, I feel ya, man … turtle meat, if you have to buy it, is like buying a slab of gold, lol. Best bet is, next time you venture down south (You live in America?), check local meat markets in small to mid-sized towns. Often they will carry snapping turtle. Or, as you say, you can ask around where to hunt them. I don’t know if you need a license to hunt them, that is something you should check into, as well.

      But you can still enjoy this recipe, even if you can’t afford or get turtle meat. Chicken works as a very good second choice, especially the dark meat – legs and thighs, deboned, skinned and chopped into bite-sized chunks.

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