Tag Archives: paul prudhomme

Turducken

From Nola Cuisine

Despite what you have seen in stores since 30 seconds after Halloween ended (and early September in some stores), there is still a holiday between Halloween and Christmas called Thanksgiving, and it is my favorite kind because it is based entirely around eating. All of the parades are just leading up to eating, and football games are just something to kick the tryptophan into high gear with the end result being a much needed mid day nap.

Elliot from Cajun Grocer emailed me to ask if I would like to review their Turducken before the Thanksgiving rush, I had to think about it, as I don’t usually do any advertisement on this site, and then I said why not, as long as I can do an unbiased review. So he shipped it out, and I made plans to have a group of friends over for a Turducken feast.

The origins of Turducken are a bit foggy, as two claim to have invented it, Paul Prudhomme, and Hebert’s Specialty Meats in Maurice, Louisiana. I don’t know who invented it, in fact, nesting birds together can be traced back to medieval times. All that I know is that a chicken stuffed inside a duck, stuffed inside a Turkey just has to make for good eating. It can also make for a labor intensive day of prep if you’re not familar with deboning poultry. If you want to try it at home, John Folse actually has some nice illustrations on the deboning process in his book The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine, and Paul Prudhomme has an insanely detailed recipe, along with extremely detailed instructions on the deboning process of each bird, along with three different stuffings in the wonderful book The Prudhomme Family Cookbook.

Cajun Grocer also has a recipe with instructions here.

If you are a regular reader of this site you know that this is a recipe I would love to cover in great detail on this site in the future.

The Turducken arrived promptly when Elliot said it would, nicely packaged and in great condition.

From Nola Cuisine
From Nola Cuisine

Cajun Grocer’s Turduckens are 15 pounds, I thawed mine for about 4 days in the refrigerator for a complete thaw.

From Nola Cuisine

The Turducken comes raw so it is basically yours to mess up or make great depending on how you cook it.

From Nola Cuisine

The only really negative reviews I’ve read about Cajun Grocer’s Turduckens are in regards to shipping, and it is usually because of poor planning. If planning on ordering a Turducken from Cajun Grocer or anywhere you should leave plenty of time for not just delivery, but also about 4-5 days of thaw time, preferably with a little breathing room in between the two. Would you trust your holiday meal to the efficiency of Fed Ex? I sure wouldn’t. Plan ahead.

How I cooked the Turducken

Preheated oven set to 325 F.

I placed the thawed Turducken in a large roasting pan and brushed it all over with heated Duck Fat (a.k.a. nectar of the gods). I then seasoned it liberally with my Creole Seasoning.

I roasted the Turducken for about 4 1/2 hours to an internal temperature of 155-160 degrees, allowing for some carry over cooking when it came out. I let the bird(s) rest for about a half an hour before slicing.

In the meantime I made a gravy from the pan juices, which I have to say was hands down, the absolute best gravy I have ever made, seen, smelled or tasted. Not because of anything I did, I just tightened it up with a roux. It was the culmination of flavor of all the birds, pork and stuffings woven together in perfect harmony. I could have drunk it from a glass, it was that good. (Actually, I did a shot of it when no one was looking…don’t tell anyone.)

Make sure that you slice the bird(s) at the table, there is nothing better than slicing into what appears to be a bone in Turkey and having the knife go clear through with ease, your guests will love it.

The Flavor

The flavor of Cajun Grocer’s Turducken was wonderful, nicely seasoned with good stuffings (a cornbread stuffing and a creole pork stuffing). The only downfall I felt was that they only use the duck breast and not the rest of the bird, because as I’ve said in the past, I’m a leg and thigh man, but that’s just my personal taste. Another thing that the Cajun Grocer does is skin the chicken and duck, which I do agree with as I don’t think that the fat would ever render out enough, leaving behind chewy undercooked globs of skin, especially in regards to the duck.

I served the Turducken with my Maque Choux:

From Nola Cuisine

and Praline Sweet Potatoes:

From Nola Cuisine

The main problem with making a Turducken from scratch is time. Ordering a Turducken online from Cajun Grocer will definately save you a lot of time, especially for a novice, and you will have a terrific product that will definitely impress your guests, as long as you cook it properly. They really do a nice job and they have a lot of great Louisiana sausages, Tasso, and other products as well.

But for me, the reason for this site, and cooking in general, is making things from scratch, for the sheer reason of knowing how to do it, and enjoying that labor in the kitchen, no matter how long it takes. In doing so you also have complete control over everything, making Turducken stock from all of the bones, making your own stuffings from the stocks, etc. But not everyone wants that kind of control. Very few actually, I believe want that kind of control. Thank God then for companies like Cajun Grocer that will do all of the leg work for you.

Related Thanksgiving Posts:

Turkey Bone Gumbo Recipe
Oyster Dressing Recipe
Praline Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which has links to all of the recipes featured on this site!

Redfish Courtbouillon

From Nola Cuisine

This is the city or Creole version of the great Louisiana Courtbouillons, the other being the Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon (COO-be-yahn). The major difference in my two versions is the absence of a Roux in this one and of course the type of fish. I actually used Red Snapper for this version. Although Redfish is preferred and classic, I went with what I could get freshest.

According to the The Picayune’s Creole Cookbook of 1901:

Those kings of the New Orleans French Market the Red Snapper and the Redfish, are used in the pride and glory of the New Orleans cuisines, a good Courtbouillon. More generally and with finer results the Redfish or Poisson Rouge is used. This Fish may always be known by the single spot on the tail. The old Creoles have a tradition that this was the fish that the Apostles brought to the Savior when he performed the great miracle of the loaves and the fishes. They hand down the quaint legend that the Savior took up this fish between his fingers and blessed it, and it was ever after a marked fish in the waters, the imprint of the Lord’s fingers having remained on the spot where He held up the fish and blessed it and offered it up to His Father. They hold the Redfish in reverent veneration, and never fail to tell the children when cooking it: ‘Those are the marks of the Lord’s hand.’

More on Redfish Courtbouillon from what I’ve said before is one of my absolute favorite reads on the subject of Creole & Cajun cooking, the long out of print 1971 Time-Life publication
American cooking: Creole and Acadian (Foods of the world) by Peter S. Feibleman:

Stop and have a bowl of redfish courtbouillon, a dish that is to the bayous and marshes and Gulf coast what a hamburger is to the Midwest. A rich brown roux has been made and combined with tomato puree, onions, shallots, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Bay leaves and allspice and red pepper and other spices have been added, and a dash of Tabasco. Redfish meat and a bit of claret have been put in and simmered gently for an hour, and the courtbouillon is served in a gumbo bowl with rice. It is red and thick and searing, and just one taste of it makes you imagine that you can stand up even to the weather.

When making your Creole Sauce for this recipe be sure to make it extra thick, otherwise the liquid the fish lets out while cooking will make your sauce watery.

Here is my recipe:

From Nola Cuisine

Redfish Courtbouillon Recipe

2 Whole Redfish, Red Snapper, or other firm fleshed fish (scaled, gutted and trimmed of all fins)
1 Cup Flour, liberally seasoned with salt, pepper and cayenne
2 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1/4 Cup dry white wine
1 Recipe Creole Sauce, made with fish stock, and made extra thick
1 Lemon, thinly sliced
2 bunches fresh Thyme, 1/2 of which tied tightly with butcher’s twine
1 Bay Leaf
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice as an accompaniment

Season the fish all over including in the cavity with kosher salt, black pepper and a little cayenne. Place some of the sliced lemon and 1/2 of the Thyme into the cavity of each fish.
Dredge the fish in the seasoned flour and warm the unsalted butter in a large cast iron skillet.
When the butter just starts to brown place the fish in the pan, cook until golden brown on both sides.
Remove the fish to a plate and deglaze the pan with the white wine. When the wine reduces slightly, add the fish back to the pan and ladle enough Creole Sauce to come up the sides of the fish by half, plus ladle a little on top of the fish.
Add the Thyme and bay leaf to the pan and place some of the lemon slices on top of the fish. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil and place into a 350 degree over for 30 minutes.

When plating, carefully remove the fish and filet gently being careful to get rid of all of the bones. An alternate method would be to filet the fish raw and use the head and bones to make your fish stock.

Serve with Creole Boiled Rice and garnish with chopped parsley, lemon slices, and a genourous helping of the Creole Sauce from the pan.

Serves 2-4 depending on the size of your fish.

From Nola Cuisine

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which is a directory of all of the recipes featured on this site!

Related Posts:

Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon Recipe

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

From Nola Cuisine

Yesterday was bitter cold here in the Detroit area, perfect Gumbo weather, so I whipped up a small batch to warm our souls.

When it comes to chicken for soups, I’m a leg & thigh man. For my money you can’t beat that moist, flavorful dark meat just melting away in the pot.

I don’t like my Gumbos too thick or too thin, but just in the middle, like velvet on your tongue.

It’s hard to believe that this is the first Gumbo that I’ve featured on this site, I don’t know how that happened, being that Gumbo is pretty much one of the cornerstones of New Orleans Cuisine, as well as one of my favorite things in the world to cook (and eat, for that matter). Better late than never I always say, here is the recipe:

Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo Recipe

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
4 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
1 Cup Onions, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Celery, Diced
1 1/2 Cups Andouille, sliced
3 Tbsp Garlic, chopped
6 Cups cold Chicken Stock
3 Fresh Bay Leaves
4 Chicken Thighs, seasoned liberally with Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Hot Sauce to taste
Kosher Salt to taste, if necessary
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chiffonade
1/4 Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Creole Boiled Rice
Fresh French Bread

Bake the chicken thighs in a 350-400 degree oven until brown.
Mix your onion, celery, and bell pepper together: The Holy Trinity.
Heat the oil in a cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to make a milk chocolate Roux (making a Roux). Add the Andouille, 1 Tbsp of Seasoning, and 3/4 of the Holy Trinity, cook, stirring often, for about ten minutes or until the vegetables soften. Add the cold stock, the remaining 1/4 trinity, remaining seasoning, and Garlic. Bring to a Boil. Bring this down to a simmer, add the baked thighs and let it go for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. About 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, remove the Chicken from the bone and add the meat back to the pot. Add the Worcestershire, Hot Sauce, and 1/2 of the Green Onions. Serve with Creole Boiled Rice, crusty French Bread, and a good cold beer (I like Dixie or Abita Amber).
Garnish with green onions, and the parsley.

* I prefer Chicken Thighs for my soups and Gumbos. It’s the misunderstood portion of the bird, which is fine by me because it keeps the price down. I get them bone in, then Cartel wrap the bones and stick them in the freezer for stock. I’m like a Vulture when it comes to bones for stocks, my freezer looks like the Catacombs (animals only of course).

This makes about 3-4 Main Course Servings

Related Recipes:

Turtle Soup Recipe
Red Bean Soup Recipe

Check out my Creole & Cajun Recipe Page, an index of all of the recipes (so far) on this site!

Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon Recipe

A Louisiana Courtbouillon (COO-be-yahn) is completely different than the French Court-bouillon, which is an aromatic liquor or stock used as a cooking liquid. The Louisiana Courtbouillon, which is most definately a Cajun creation, is a thick, rich fish stew, brimming with Acadian flavors. There is a Creole style Courtbouillon as well, which is Whole Fish, usually Redfish, stuffed with aromatics, topped with lemon slices, then braised in Creole Sauce (future post). Here is my recipe for the Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon which is just pure, down home goodness:

Cajun Catfish Courtbouillon Recipe

1 lb of Catfish Fillets cut into 2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp Creole Seasoning
2 Tbsp Bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 Medium Onion, Julienned
2 Stalks Celery, Julienned
1 small Bell Pepper, Julienned
1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
1 Can Diced Tomatoes (14 1/2 oz.) or Same amount fresh from the garden if in season
Fish Stock, Seafood Stock or water to cover, about 2-3 cups
2 Fresh Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme leaves
1/4 Cup Dark Roux
Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne to taste
3-4 dashes Peychaud Bitters (optional)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Hot Sauce (I use Crystal)
3 Lemon Slices
2 Tbsp. Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped
1/4 Cup Thinly sliced Green Onions
1 Recipe Creole Boiled Rice

Toss the Catfish with the Creole Seasoning and keep in the refrigerator.
Heat the bacon drippings over medium heat, add the trinity (onions, celery, bell pepper) and saute until slightly wilted. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Cover with the stock by 1/2 inch, add bay leaves, thyme, garlic and a small amount of seasonings, bring to a boil; Add the Dark Roux, cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Lower to a simmer, simmer about 20 minutes. Stir in the hot sauce, Worcestershire, Peychaud’s, parsley, 1/2 of the green onions, Catfish and the lemon slices. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. If the Courtbouillon gets a little too thick add a touch of stock or water, the consistency should be stewlike, not watery. Be careful when stirring the pot not to break up the Catfish.
Adjust the seasonings if necessary, remove the bay leaf and lemon slices. Serve over boiled rice and top with the remaining green onions.

Serves 3-4

Related Posts:
Redfish Courtbouillon

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which provides links to all of the recipes featured on this site!