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Bookbinder's Philadelphia Snapper Soup


This is a traditional dish served at the famous Bookbinder's Restaurant in Philadelphia. It should be made with turtle meat, but you can substitute lean stewing beef. It will taste the same.


  • 1 pound turtle meat or lean stewing beef
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1 clove garlic, 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


  1. 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.
  2. Strain meat from stock. Dice meat into 1/4 inch pieces. Set both aside.
  3. Cook vegetables in butter until onions are translucent. Add beef stock.
  4. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water into paprika and flour until smooth. Add tomato puree 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.
  5. Strain soup. Place vegetables into food processor or blender and puree.
  6. Mix cornstarch with remaining water and blend until smooth. Add to soup and cook 15 minutes, stirring, until stock is thickened.
  7. Add meat and vegetable puree. Remove from direct heat. Add sherry right before serving.

Source: Bookbinder's Restaurant — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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