Celebrate Charleston Food and Wine – Enjoy Mock Turtle Soup!

Tours Travel


The above is an excerpt from the Charleston, SC Courier of March 22, 1865 recounting the Freedmen Jubilee Parade, which featured a black man in a float with a woman and two children whom he intended to auction “for good Confederate money. “. He played his role with vigor and conviction, causing much joy and jubilation in the crowd of black faces.

I’ve always been a fan of turtle soup. My parents often visited Doc and Nananne in New Orleans (my great aunt and uncle) and came back with stories of delicious turtle soup. They brought two cans of turtle soup for me to taste. The rich, dark stew with a touch of dry sherry was absolute heaven for my 8-year-old palate. I have never forgotten. And so, as I could not attend the Grand Opening, I decided to celebrate Food and Wine by recreating that flavor of my childhood.

But first, a little history of the turtle soup. For many years, the turtle soup was considered the best gastronomy. In the early 1900s, Villa Marguerita, Charleston’s finest hotel at the time, had a $ 20 plate of turtle soup on the menu. Turtle meat was considered a delicacy, exotic because the meat comes from 5 different places in the turtle, all with different tastes. A large snapping turtle is said to contain seven different types of meat, each reminiscent of pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, veal, fish, or goat. Locally, this English-sourced dish did not survive in Charleston homes until the 20th century. Although Charlestons continued to hire black cooks, few were trained to make Eurocentric foods, so the surviving forms of food that we consider Lowcountry style generally have their roots in Africa, but not in turtle soup.

For many years, sea turtles were the meat of choice, so actual meat was out of the question. Where to find turtle meat today? Of course, lice are ubiquitous, but I live in an apartment and dressing them would be a problem. I’m not sure I’m ready to grab the head, cut it off, and hang it upside down to drain. The high cost of sea turtle meat led to the creation of the Mock Turtle Soup. Using the same rich broth and a variety of meats in the broth, Mock Turtle Soup mimics not just the taste but the texture and look of the real thing. Besides, I used chicken livers cut into small pieces, and that dark flavor is absolutely fine, but you can choose to use dark chicken meat, even surimi (artificial crab) or soft fish fillets for this. I plan to use ground venison or bison next time in place of the meat.

Mock Turtle Soup – My Recipe

1. To a quarter and a half of water add one pound of raw lean ground beef and one half pound of raw chicken livers in small slices, three bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt.

Bring to a boil.

2. Take half a stick of butter warmed with flour, brown to make a rue to thicken. Set aside.

3. Cut into thin and medium dice:

A yellow onion

A red pepper

Two stalks of celery.

Put these in two tablespoons of butter over medium high heat for five minutes, then high until the veggies are cooked with charcoal. Add this to the broth. Deglaze the pan with dry sherry, scrape up pieces and throw everything into the pot along with

One can beef broth

a cup of tomato sauce

A large can of crushed tomatoes

Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Add to this

1 teaspoon allspice and thyme, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Juice of ½ lemon.

4 shell eggs

Simmer everything together for at least 45 minutes, 1 1/2 hours is best. Remove the hard-boiled eggs and marinate. Add back to thicken the soup. Add rue (step 2) to thicken to the consistency of the stew.

To serve, serve the soup piping hot and garnish with parsley and dry sherry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *