Monday, November 27, 2017

Turtle soup for Thanksgiving

What a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend we had.  Three days of gathering with family and friends, counting our blessings and yes, feasting. 

Thursday was a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  My dad came over as well as my in-laws.  For once everything was done on schedule with no stress because cooking started three days earlier.  Lots of great food and conversation. 

Friday we had friends over to celebrate a birthday and stayed up way too late.  The little man was up eating chocolate cake at 10:00 p.m.  He had just had gone to dinner with his cousins and had ice cream over at Papa's house, so I'm pretty sure he couldn't believe his luck.

Saturday was Thanksgiving at my dad's house with my sister at her family.  There were children and dogs everywhere and it was wonderful.  Instead of a traditional meal my dad set up the fryer out in the driveway.  Into the fryer went a homegrown chicken and home caught perch and catfish.  I made turtle soup from a snapping turtle my dad and I caught.  

I froze all the turtle in batches, under ice, so it's still holding up fine in the freezer.  The last batch of turtle soup I made was kind of heavy on the bacon and no one liked it.  This one was basically a cream based clam chowder.  It was a big hit so I want to remember what I did:

Turtle soup:

Put a turtle appendage in a pot on the stove.  Barely cover it with water.  Add celery, sage, bay and thyme.  Simmer gently until it's falling off the bone; about 2 hours.  SAVE THE LIQUID because you just made your turtle stock.

Pick the meat off the bones while wondering it you're dealing with a neck or a leg or what.  Because you were to lazy to label it when it all went into the freezer and the anatomy is so odd that now you can't tell.  Chop meat into bite sized pieces and feed cartilage to the cats circling your feet.

Saute half a red onion, maybe 4 stalks celery and 3 potatoes (1/4 inch pieces) in olive oil/butter until soft.   Stir in about 2 Tbsps flour.  Add turtle stock and meat back to the pan and simmer until the potatoes are well done.  Add some chicken stock if it looks like it needs it.  Take the pan off the burner and when it's cooled quite a bit add about a 1/4 cup of half and half.  Season with salt and pepper.

Eat and enjoy with family.  Mentally plan next year's turtle hunt.

This seems like a good place to mention that I preserved the shell and it's on display in our dining room.  If you look on the internet for advice you'll find that there's no great way to do this.  What I did, after completely giving up on trying to clean the thing, was just to bury it in salt.  For six months.  It took forever but it worked. 

The opening day of deer season is tomorrow and for reasons beyond my control I will be staying home.  There was no sadder sound to my ears this afternoon than that of the neighbors sighting in their deer rifle.  *cries a little* 

Oh holidays, we need a day of rest to recover.  Even Bee is about to fall asleep in her coffee.

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