Advise me on cooking a turtle for the first time

So yesterday my girlfriend and I bought a whole, frozen turtle at a Chinese supermarket, just to be adventurous. Neither of us have eaten one before, and were surprised they are even sold here. It is a trionychid (soft-shell) turtle and weighs about a pound.

I’ve been looking up turtle recipes on Google, but I’m finding many of them are American recipes that use different, larger species of turtle, and also assume that I will be killing the turtle myself. I would appreciate any recipes you know that are suitable for the kind of turtle I have. And if I’m starting with a whole frozen turtle, how much do I have to dismember it before cooking it? Can I prepare it without destroying the skeleton? (I’m a paleontology geek and would like to keep it to reassemble.) Which parts of a turtle are generally considered edible/inedible?

I have no idea how to answer your question, but I would like to register my approval of the creation of this thread and to announce I will be following it with interest. :smiley:

The one and only time I’ve had turtle, it was snapper and it was diced and cooked in a stew. I recall it as being bland and rubbery.

Good luck.

I’ve killed and cooked both hard and soft shelled American turtles. I either fry them or make into turtle soup. Only the muscle/meat parts are used.

You’d need to clean it like you would a chicken.

Chickens have shells where you live? :smiley:

“Low and slow.”

Very soft ones. Almost feather-like.

You need to find an old, old-fashioned cookbook, like an early Joy of Cooking. I had a fish cookbook by James Beard many years ago telling how to cook anything that swam, including turtles. I would bet plenty of those fish listed are now endangered if not extinct.

Now that I’ve been of no help whatsoever, I would like to add I, too, want to know how the turtle experiment turns out.

Well, to start with…

No, but my turtles had bones! :stuck_out_tongue:

I attempted to contact my Dad, who is keeper of the official Family Turtle Soup recipe but he hasn’t returned my call as yet.

I love (formerly I searched turtle and then narrowed the search to main dishes and here is what comes up:

So, I laughed like a loon at the second listing on Bleach23’s link. Fried Cooter. Heh heh heh.

Yes, I am 12.

So … how was it, OP?

Still in the freezer. Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Ah yes, I had to explain what Cooter Hunting was to many a out of towner.

Coon hunting, I know. What is it?

A cooter is a type of turtle (genus Pseudemys).

A few years ago, my wife bought a frozen turtle and dumped it (shell and all) into a stew pot with some chicken and veggies. It smelled like the reptile house at the zoo, and neither of us had the guts to taste it. So I would suggest NOT doing that. :slight_smile:

I don’t know if this would help or not, but at least it provides you with some insight of the turtle’s hidden defenses.

Holy … :eek: Pretty sure that if the shell is still on then it hasn’t had its innards cleaned out, meaning your wife boiled into the broth the gallbladder, intestines, etc. plus all their savory contents.