Kids in the Kitchen: Escargot and Turtle Soup

If you’ve been following along with Kids in the Kitchen for any length of time, I’m sure you can guess who was in the kitchen this time around by the title of the post. Most kids wouldn’t choose escargot and turtle to prepare. Brandan, however, thrives on trying new things. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was how readily the dishes were received by some other members of the family. Brittany actually expressed how excited she was to try escargot. (Matt, not so much, but he did try it, at least.) The turtle soup was also well-received, considering it was so foreign to the kids.

My husband and I are quite familiar with escargot. It’s one of our favorite indulgences, albeit something we rarely have an opportunity to enjoy. (And now, I hesitate to try to enjoy it with non-dairy butter, because I’m afraid it just won’t be the same. If any of my dairy-free friends have tried it and have advice, please share!) The kids, however, never tried it before and were eager. Brandan was surprised (and perhaps disappointed?) when he didn’t get to start with live snails. He was greeted instead by canned escargot and empty, clean snail shells. As for me, I would much rather skip the “nasty” part and would much prefer the easy route!

The turtle meat was difficult to source. I knew I saw it at one of our local Asian groceries at one point in time, but I visited a few days ago, and no luck. So I contacted a local seafood shop (Capt’n Dave’s Seafood Market) and was able to order the meat in time for this weekend. However, it certainly wasn’t cheap. The next “adventure” will certainly have to be a more budget-friendly meal, which, with Brandan’s tastes, will certainly require some negotiation.

The turtle soup required some time and prep work, but the easy and simplicity of the escargot offset that. But it was well worth it – the soup was a bit spicy, full of flavor, and the turtle meat emerged tender and delicious. (FYI, turtle meat is actually quite nice. The texture is similar to pork, in my mind, and the flavor just as mild.) The kids enjoyed it with french bread. But in their minds, the escargot stole the show. Buttery and garlicky, it was fun and delicious. I borrowed Jaden’s recipe at Steamy Kitchen, omitted the cognac, and it was perfect. If you eat dairy, this would be a great classic appetizer to impress.

For the escargot recipe, visit Steamy Kitchen here.

Gluten-Free Turtle Soup, adapted from Emeril Lagasse

2 lbs boneless turtle meat

2 3/4 t salt

3/4 t cayenne

6 c water

1/2 c grapeseed oil

1/2 c sweet white rice flour

1 1/2 c chopped onions

1/4 c chopped bell peppers

1/4 c chopped celery

3 bay leaves

1/2 t dried rubbed sage

2 T minced garlic

1/2 c crushed tomatoes

1/2 c Worcestershire sauce

3 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 c dry sherry

1/4 c fresh chopped parsley

1/2 c chopped green onions

4 hard boiled eggs, chopped

For garnish:

2 T chopped green onions

2 T chopped hard boiled eggs

Put the turtle meat in a large saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 t cayenne, and the water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Simmer for 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a platter, reserving liquid. Chop the meat to 1/2 inch dice. In another large saucepan, heat oil and rice flour over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, for 6 minutes. Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and saute another 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sage, and garlic, and saute, stirring, another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and turtle meat. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Worcestershire sauce, the remaining salt and cayenne, the reserved turtle stock, lemon juice, and sherry. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the parsley, green onions, and eggs and simmer for 45 minutes. Garnish with green onions and eggs.

Serves 6-8.

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Comments

  1. says

    Alta, this post had me cracking up. I, too, have two boys with very expensive tastes. In fact, you ask them what their favorite meal is and they both claim that it is fresh lobster and King crab legs. And the hubby and I love escargot as well. I think you are doing such an awesome thing with your kids. And tell Brandan we really like his choices! ;)

  2. janelle says

    sounds delicious! try using clarified butter (ghee). it haas the milk solids removed and my dairy free friends have no trouble with it when used for special dishes like this!

  3. says

    It’s so important to expose children to new flavors when they’re young, as you’re doing so well here, and I hope TONS of parents are reading your “kids in the kitchen” series. We raised my son in a variety of third world with very different cuisines, so my son naturally bought into the whole idea of adventurous eating while still a toddler, including, for example, dried fish, fertilized duck eggs, durian, heavily spiced dishes, ceviche, sushi, and (yes) escargot. I’m most definitely NOT a kid anymore, but I really want to try your excellent turtle soup after the T-Day holiday this week. Just fabulous, Alta!

  4. says

    Alta, yes, I knew right away that it was Brandan in the kitchen! Love him and the recipes you two create together. Add my son to the group that likes expensive and/or unusual foods: snails, lobster, crab legs, frog legs, alligator … the list goes on. He’s been like this since he was little. We have only ourselves to blame I guess. ;-) Great job on these recipes!

    Shirley

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