September 8, 2011

Shut Yo Mouth Recipes - Meat Pies

Say what? 
...this just ain't right...

I bet in all regions, heck, all parts of this world, you fine folks have a slew of food dishes you just love to make ... you know the ones that are so gosh darn good, but because of the name or maybe ingredients, you just don't go around praising the worthiness. Well, that is what Shut Yo Mouth is all about and today it's about bodacious meat pies.

Now down here in LA, that's Lower Alabama for those uneducated, and around many parts of the south, we enjoy a certain critter, why just thinking about it makes me lick my lips. I'm talking about cooter.
See what I mean, some things you just don't want to talk about, I mean really. You can have the best, tastiest cooter but folks don't want you going around talking about it. Imagine walking in the fellowship hall for Thursday's night church bible social and greeting everyone with "Hey ya'll, look ah here. You won't believe the size of this cooter I brought home last night, and for it's size, it's still young and sweet ... Come on, ya'll eat up now." Nope, some things you just can't imagine talking about.

Yet folks have been making Cooter Pie for as long as, well, for as long as there's been cooters I guess. Why it's a well known recipe. Never heard of it? Cooter either? Well, here in the south, we say cooter all the time sometimes not even referring to eating it. As in an older, ornery man, Look at that cooter (ol' coot). Or when we see him pretty tight and all liquored up, He's drunk as a cooter (Brown). But more than likely, we say it for what it is, as in Look yonder, now that's a fine cooter up in that hole.

Found near swamps and ponds, along river beds basking in the summer sun, cooters burrow into the mud banks to nest and hibernate in the winter, to make a home, raise a family and live peacefully not knowing some southern redneck is out looking for mama or papa cooter to make a pie. Now if you really want to get educated, some folks call them freshwater turtles, but what fun is that. Wait, I see ya, you've come this far, don't turn up your nose now, I mean, cooter or rather turtle soup is just about on every menu in New Orleans, real tasty too. Below is a recipe for Cooter Pie. The first one I remember seeing is from the The Government Street Presbyterian Cookbook published in the late 1800's. See, some folks do talk about it, and at church socials too.

The name cooter of course is slang, derivative from kuta, a West African name for turtle. A lot of our slang comes from African languages, I mean, these are the folks who raised many of us and influenced our way of cooking. This recipe is for entertainment only, I don't really expect you to Enjoy! this one, but ya know, swapping out cooter for any meat would make a fine substitute and keep the conversation going.... just saying...

Cooter Pie

1 medium-sized cooter, the younger the better
1/2 cup chopped bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic toes, crushed
1/2 cup stewed tomatoes
1 cup sweet milk
1 cup liquor from stew pot
1 tablespoon whiskey
good shake of celery salt
couple of good shakes of red pepper
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
2 slices toasted white bread (crumbled)
Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons oleo
1 tablespoon sherry
mace and thyme to taste
black pepper to taste
pie pastry

First you gotta wash your cooter. Then drop live cooter in a pot of boiling water. Cook for 45 minutes. Cut open the underside of the shell with a saw and remove the meat, fat, liver, and eggs it any. Be careful not to break the gall.  Remove meat from the feet and legs. Put aside.

In a new pot, cook bacon until fat renders and add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are limp. Add the cooter meat, a little water and salt. Then stew until tender, usually about an hour. Add stewed tomatoes, milk, and liquor from stew pot, oleo, whiskey, sherry, eggs (cut up), breadcrumbs and seasonings.

Now, if you want, make individual pies using the pie crust. Quickly fry the pies in hot oil until brown.

Or, you can put all of this in the shell which has been provided by the cooter and cover with cracker crumbs, dot with oleo, and bake in 375 degrees oven about 45 minutes. Place in the windowsill to cool and wait. Every redneck around will come running.



11 comments :

  1. What a great meat pie I love the ingredients in this, I have made them before will adapt to some of these wonderful flavors!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cooter pie huh? Sounds great! Funny you say dot with oleo, now that sounds like my grandma's recipes!

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Claudia - I bet your mother's version is a way better version... I was hellbent on researching 'cooter' pie, but I know there are really great turtle meat pie recipes out there...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hahahahahaha!!!! This is so funny. I love this post and recipes on so many levels :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I don't know Drick, these days I'll try just about anything - even cooder!! Up here, terrapin soup is (or more accurately was) a big deal. When I was a kid I had something called mock turtle soup and I have no idea what meat they actually used!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Drick, I am so happy you posted this. Love me some meat pies, but don't we all? Such a delicious classic!

    ReplyDelete
  7. So, how do you know the age of a cooter???

    Do they wrinkle as they age?

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a recipe! I have heard of turtle soup, but not cooter...wow! Working some great flavors here, will have to ask my dad if he has ever tried it :)
    And A Very Happy Birthday as well my friend, hope you have a fantastic one :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. HA! I don't know if I can find fresh Cooter up here in NY. I think I have one in my fish tank though named Speedy!! I do love the idea of pulling out a saw to make dinner :) Cooter aside, the whiskey and eggs have me intrigued.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Okay, I have to draw the line here. I am willing to be southern in many ways, but I am not washing and cooking a turtle. And don't tell me it tastes like chicken, either! Love the other flavors, so a substitute will have to be called in to play for the reptile.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Drick you took me waaayyy back with "Cooter Brown". My mom used to say that all the time.

    ReplyDelete