White Tavern Turtle Soup

Rosella Bourgeois Bernard

Total Cooking Time 90
Yield 8-10
7 ratings

“Turtle soup was our little tradition and whenever my dad said, “You wanna take a ride?” I knew he meant to Raceland and to the White Tavern. I loved the twenty-minute drive down the bayou. My dad would tell colorful family stories about an equally colorful cast of characters, and we stopped at tiny vegetable and fruit stands along the way. Creole tomatoes, okra, fresh green beans – my dad would speak French with old man so-and-so or we would just leave money in the tin can provided, an honor system that always mesmerized me.” – Katy Danos, “The Turtle Soup Man of Raceland,” My Rouses Everyday, March/April 2016


  • 2 pounds turtle meat
  • 3 tablespoons Rouses vegetable oil or lard
  • Rouses salt and black pepper
  • 2 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced thinly
  • 4 quarts of water
  • Optional: boiled eggs and sherry, to taste


  1. Season turtle meat with salt and pepper. Coat a large cast-iron skillet with the oil. Render the turtle meat (cook until brown) at a medium to high heat. Remove the meat from pot. Reduce heat to medium. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic and cook until tender. Slowly whisk in flour to make a “roux.”
  2. Return the turtle meat to the pot. Add tomato sauce and 1 cup of water. Cook for 30 minutes. Add lemon, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce and 4 quarts of water (you may use stock instead). Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until soup reaches desired thickness. Serve with boiled eggs and sherry to taste.