Here is a recipe for mock turtle soup, as I know turtle meat is not readily available to all of you. If you can get turtle meat, it is worth the trouble. The boneless chuck is a surprisingly good substitute.
• ¼ pound butter
• 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck (cut into half-inch pieces)
• salt and freshly cracked pepper
• 2 medium onions, diced
• 1 whole onion with 20 cloves stuck into it—this really makes the difference
• 6 stalks celery, diced
• 15 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 bell peppers, diced
• 1 tablespoon dried thyme, ground
• 1 tablespoon dried oregano, ground
• 4 bay leaves
• 2 quarts chicken stock (you can use chicken bouillon cubes to make this)
• ¾ cup dark roux (chocolate brown) (technique below)
• 26 ounces dry sherry (750 milliliter bottle)
• 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
• 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
• 2 large lemons, juiced
• 3 cups petite diced tomatoes
• 6 medium hard-boiled eggs, chopped or grated
In a large soup pot over medium to high heat, melt 1/2 stick butter. Season meat and add turtle meat (or chuck roast) and brown. Cook at least 20 minutes or until liquid is almost dry. Add onions, celery, garlic, and peppers, constantly stirring. Add thyme, oregano, and bay leaves and sautee for another 20 minutes. Add stock, bring to a boil. Add the whole onion with the cloves in it and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim fat off when simmering.
While stock is simmering, make the roux. In a cast iron skillet, add ¼ cup of oil and ¾ cup of flour and cook over medium heat. Slowly add flour, a little at a time, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to burn. After all of the flour has been added, cook until roux is a darker color, and about eight to 12 minutes.
Using a whisk, stir the roux into the stock, adding a little at a time to prevent lumping. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Stir to prevent sticking on bottom. Add sherry (yes, a whole bottle) and bring to a boil. Add Worcestershire sauce. Simmer and skim any fat or foam that comes to the top. Add lemon juice and tomatoes and return to a simmer. Remove the onion with the cloves in it. Adjust seasoning. Add the chopped egg five minutes before serving (or serve in a dish as a garnish that can be added).
To read Regina's article about the tradition of Reveillon dinner on Christmas Eve, click here.