Turtle soup

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by chowderhead, Sep 9, 2005.

  1. chowderhead

    chowderhead

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    I've just discovered that the quiet little lake upon which sits my new home, is also home to some rather large snapping turtles.
    Eager to add another unusual soup to my repertoire, but once caught I've no idea how to butcher a turtle. Anyone have some experience in this terrapin territory?

    Oh yeah, good turtle soup recipes are also most welcome.

    thanks
     
  2. sushigaijin

    sushigaijin

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    teh common snapping turtle, chelydra serpentina, has a very long and dangerous neck/head assembly. if you grab the turtle anywhere above the rear legs, it will bite you. keep your hands back towards the tail, and hang on tight. some people grab them by the tail itself, but that can be bad for the turtle...of course, if it is going to end up in a soup anyway, it hardly matters if you dislocate its back.

    snapping turtle has no special butchery considerations, just kill it, gut it, skin it, and cook it. tasty.

    Erik.
     
  3. 100folds

    100folds

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    11
    Here's how to butcher the turtle, if you have the stomach for it. ;)
    1. Lay it on it's back with its head hanging over the side of a table
    2. Spike a fork into its lower jaw, keeping the neck out and sever the head. Do this quickly
    3. Now hand the body over a bucket to drain and collect the blood, which you may need for the soup depending on whose's soup you are doing.
    4. Thrust a strong knife between the top and lower shell, where the two meet and seperate
    5. Cut all the flesh from the ower shell, the bottom, and put the other shell aside
    6. Cut off the flippers and remove the intestines, throw away and collect all the green fat
    7. Now cut away the flesh and fat from the top shell.

    To cook this is another story. Good luck but I have the feeling you will need a little more than luck on your side. :smokin
     
  4. chowderhead

    chowderhead

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Excellent, I have just the fork to do it with, a great old solid forged (through the tang) instrument that always seemed to be overkill for typical uses, but certainly has the strength for this task.

    What am I to do with the "green fat" I am to collect?
     
  5. canadianfem

    canadianfem

    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    10
    WOW

    I don't think I'll be eating turtles anytime soon. Is there a particular area that turtle dishes are common. I don't think I've ever seen it on a menu?
     
  6. cake girl

    cake girl

    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    10
    :lol: you know its just gonna taste like chicken so spare the cute little guy :(
     
  7. chowderhead

    chowderhead

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Ever seen a full grown snapper? CUTE is not the first adjective that comes to mind.
    Plus if I leave them alone, one day while enjoying my lake, they might decide to make a meal of me (or at least snack on my toes).
     
  8. redace1960

    redace1960

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    12
    my bud from metaire adds this:
    this should be a two person operation.
    wear heavy boots, and if you have steel mesh gauntlets, use them!
    use a sturdy pair of bypass rose shears or heavy pruners to behead, and to separate the top and bottom shells, rather than a knife or hatchet
    now stop and have a red stripe :beer:
    make sure and wash said turtle very ,very well before you open him up...remember, they're bottom feeders and have lots of skank-collecting nooks and crannies.
    ESCOFFIER has the classic recipe people think of, and a very thorough discussion of breaking and prep too. this is the victorian version thats so rich it was traditionally served in a special shallow bowl.
    RIVER ROAD RECIPES put out by the junior league of baton rouge has two recipes, one for soup and one for stew.
    JOY has the method and a recipe for this.
     
  9. chowderhead

    chowderhead

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    10
    Thanks, I will definitely make this a two (or more) man operation. Like the Red Stripe idea especially. Speaking of cleaning the skank out, I've heard that it might be a good idea to keep the turtle alive and in clean water for a few days. Have you heard similarly? Of course if the size is what I've been told, I'm going to need a really big tub and a subtantial lid if I'm going to keep one of these bruisers contained.
     
  10. shahar

    shahar

    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    10
    Are these the same tutles I see at the chinese market?
    Does fish mongers(turtles's a fish, right?) butcher them for you if asked, like they take care of frogs(another fish)?
     
  11. sushigaijin

    sushigaijin

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    the turtles you see in asian markets are most likely red eared sliders, not common snapping turtles. common snappers are BIG and prehistoric looking, although they are relatively recent on the evolutionary field. the biggest snapper i have seen must have been just over 20 lbs. to clean the skank out, use a toothbrush or similar on a DEAD, whole, turtle under running water. a live one will eat you before you eat it. living in clean water wont clean it, as the algae etc. that grows on snappers will continue to grow in clean water. this i know because i have kept snappers as pets before, they are a nice addition to my snake and lizard heavy reptile collection. as far as food goes, a lot of sherry and cream makes a delicious turtle soup.

    edit: a fishmonger will usually be able to get/carry frozen snapper meat ready to cook. I did the job for 7 years and it was ALWAYS available, it just takes a little asking.
     
  12. 100folds

    100folds

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    11
    You gotta let me know how this turns out. I'm a city gal and I don't think I've even seen a live snapping turtle ever!! Don't spare any details, especially the gruesome ones. Oh and when I meant fork, that is a carving fork my dear. Don't use an ordinary fork. I don't recommend it to be dead mainly because of the rigormortis state. It might affect the difficulty of extracting the meat. Besides, you could feel like indiana jones, fighting off dangerous species of our earth in search of rare treasures, like turtle meat! Ya, chezzy but totally worth the experience. :bounce:
    good luck!
     
  13. redace1960

    redace1960

    Messages:
    334
    Likes Received:
    12
    i am told to say that whatever you do, DO NOT pen and 'starve out' your snapturtle if this is the first time your doing this. it just makes a normally grouchy and dangerous animal even more pissed off and harder to handle!
    my bud says that penning is something they usually do with oppossum, not snapturtles. 'possum is very, very greasy and fatty, so the idea is you starve that off him before he goes into the oven.
    he's heard of people that would pen the turtle in a section of running creek and feed it chicken or bread or cornmeal bread for a week to 'clean it out'.