With about 8 inches of snow on the ground here in Virginia it feels like spring is never going to come. It’s been a brutally cold winter here and I’ve been eating a lot of soup for the last two months. Every time I sit down to another bowl of broth it makes me think of Pine Valley Golf Club. That’s a strange connection, right? Well, Pine Valley Golf Club’s signature item in the grill room is their snapper soup and I can’t help but think of it every time I eat soup. Just to avoid confusion, I’d like to clarify that in this instance “snapper” is turtle and not fish. The snapper soup at Pine Valley is somewhat of a legend and before I visited the club I had countless people tell me that I had to have it, so of course I did. They were right and it is exceptionally good. Having never had it before it had an unusual flavor, but I rather enjoyed it, especially with a dash of sherry added to it. Snapper soup is somewhat of a local specialty in the Philadelphia region and it can be found in a number of high quality restaurants. In fact, Merion Golf Club serves an excellent snapper soup as well.
If you ever make it to Pine Valley be sure to have the snapper soup as it’s one of the legends of the golf world. If you can’t wait for a visit to Pine Valley to try it out below is a recipe for snapper soup from Bookbinders which was considered one of the premiere seafood restaurants in Philadelphia for over 100 years before closing its doors in 2009.
1 lb turtle meat
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup carrot, diced
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 quart beef stock
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
1/3 cup cream sherry
1/4 teaspoon whole mixed pickling spice
Place turtle or beef in stock pot with 1 1/2 quarts water. Bring to a boil. Skim during cooking. Simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender.
Strain meat from stock. Dice meat into 1/4 inch pieces. Set both aside.
Cook vegetables in butter until onions are translucent. Add beef stock.
In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water into paprika and flour until smooth. Add tomato purée and spices.
Stir into beef stock until well blended. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Place vegetables into food processor or blender and purée.
Mix cornstarch with remaining water and blend until smooth. Add to soup and cook 15 minutes, stirring, until stock is thickened.
Add meat and vegetable purée.
Remove from direct heat. Add sherry right before serving.