Loggerhead turtles are named for their large heads that support powerful jaw muscles, allowing them to crush hard-shelled prey like clams and sea urchins.
Caouane (pronounced Cow Ann) or Loggerhead Turtle Soup
1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 cup self-rising flour, 4 bay leaves, 3 celery stalks, diced, 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced, 1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced, 2 pounds loggerhead turtle meat, cut in 1-inch cubed, 1 (18 oz.) can crushed tomatoes, 2 (14.5 oz.) cans beef broth, 1 cup sherry, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 lemons juiced, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground basil, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme, 1 teaspoon ground oregano, 1/2 pound fresh spinach, coarsely chopped, 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley.
Get out a heavy pot, add the turtle meat, and 6- cups of water and 2 cups chicken stock. Add the bay leaves and about a tablespoon of sea salt. Bring to a boil and skim the scum that floats to the top. Drop the heat to a simmer and cook until the turtle meat starts to fall off the bone, this takes about 2 to 3 hours. Remove from the stove and allow the meat to cool. Pull the meat off the bones and cut in 1-inch cubes. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large, heavy pot. Add salt and pepper cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the onions, celery, garlic, bell peppers, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, cook for 15-20 minutes. Add the stock to the pot, increase the heat bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cook uncovered, for 30 minutes. Add turtle meat. Some oil will float to the top, skim that off. While the pot is cooking, make up the roux. Get out a cast-iron skillet, add the remaining butter to the skillet and melt. Add an equal amount of flour, a little at a time, whisk for 3-5 minutes, or until the roux is the color of peanut butter. Gradually add the roux to the soup, continue to whisk to ensure there are no lumps. Continue to cook on a simmer for another 20-25 minutes. Add the sherry, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce, stir together. If any fat or form comes to the top, skim it off. We are almost through; add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, spinach, and eggs; continue to cook for another 12-15 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve over steamed rice.