Advent Calendar, Day 9


Maybe the “real” New York is the one you experience in mid-August when everything is oppressively stanky and tempers are short, but the fantasy New York of Christmas season is all right by me. Here’s a little owl perched above the gate to a park near Macy’s, keeping watch over holiday shoppers by night.

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recipe after the jump

Turtle Sauce Piquant from the Des Allemands Catfish Festival Cookbook

The term “sauce piquant” is usually used to describe a spicy sauce made with roux and tomatoes — sort of a Cajun spaghetti. It’s a great way to cook game meats, though beef is wonderful here, too. Don’t be scared of turtle — it’s delicious and easily my favorite version of this dish.

3 lb. turtle meat
3 tablespoons cooking oil
3 tablespoons flour
4 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green onion tops, chopped
3 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 large can whole tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
2 dashes hot sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 bay leaf
1/2 lemon, chopped
8 oz. sliced button mushrooms (optional)
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)

Boil turtle meat in water to cover for about 30 minutes. In a separate pot, cook flour and oil over medium heat to make a roux; stir constantly and cook until roux is the color of peanut butter or a little darker. When roux is ready, add onions, garlic, celery, and bell pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add remaining ingredients except salt & pepper, lemon, and sherry. Drain turtle meat, reserving water. If desired, brown meat over medium-high heat in a little oil. Add meat to the pot. Cook gently, partly covered, until meat is tender, 2-3 hours. If sauce gets too thick and starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, add reserved water as needed from the boiled turtle meat. About 30 minutes before serving, add chopped lemon and salt & pepper to taste, and just before serving, add sherry to pot.

Serve over rice. Enjoy!

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