Looking through the freezers at Exotic Meat Market in Grand Terrace I found a five pound bag of bone-in common snapping turtle meat.
|Common snapping turtle.|
I've tried snapping turtle meat in various ways previously and have never cooked it in a way that I've really enjoyed it. However, recently I cooked red-eared slider turtle soup in a crockpot and was very happy with it, so I decided to get the snapping turtle meat and try it in a crockpot.
|5 pounds of snapping turtle meat.|
As I look back on my red-eared slider legs, I brined them overnight and I probably should have brined the snapping turtle meat. I think I would have been able to cook it for less time, but as it was, it turned out fine.
I put the entire 5 pounds in the crockpot; added a half package of Zatarain's New Orleans Style Dirty Rice Mix; a can of Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic; a can of water; a bowl full of water that had four large New Mexico chiles soaking in it for several hours, along with the chiles that I cut into pieces; six large Anaheim chiles that I roasted on the grill, peeled and diced; 3 large jalapeno peppers and three poblano peppers prepared the same way; cut the corn off of three grilled ears of sweet corn; put four heads of garlic in, separated into cloves; cut-up about a quarter pound of wild boar bacon to give added fat and taste; and sprinkled it liberally with Zatarain's Creole Seasoning.
|Wild boar bacon. I used only a small part of this in the stew.|
|Cut corn from three cobs of grilled sweet corn.|
|Dried New Mexico chiles. I added a fourth to the stew after this picture was taken.|
|Six Anaheim chiles ready to be diced.|
|The crockpot full to the brim and ready for cooking.|
I cooked it in the crockpot overnight on low for 13 hours. The long cooking time obliterated much of the peppers, although the garlic and corn held its shape. But the long cooking time did soften up the turtle tremendously. The meat on the turtle bones just fell off as I spooned the stew mix. The turtle meat easily separated and I was able to spread it throughout the stew.
|Cooked stew at the end of 13 hours.|
|A bowl of turtle stew.|
The stew was good but I did make a few mistakes. I should have brined the turtle before-hand and I should have added more soup or broth instead of water (we ran out and I didn't have time to go to the store for more). The broth would have been more rich. However, I am finding that I really like the crockpot for wild game. It is a great tool for softening up and cooking lean meats.