Tag Archives: turducken

Live Louisiana Crawfish from Cajun Grocer

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Back when I did my review of Cajun Grocer’s Turducken in November, Charlie asked me if I would like to do a review of their Live Louisiana Crawfish when the season came around. Hmm…live Louisiana crawfish, for free? Let me think about it…..just kidding, of course!

Thanks a million to Charlie and the folks at Cajun Grocer for sending such a generous portion of a superior product, and all I had to do was just write about it, which I do for fun anyway!

I contacted Charlie from Cajun Grocer last week and he asked me when I planned on boiling them and I said Saturday, he suggested shipping them Thursday for Friday and keeping them someplace cool with a bag of ice on them until I was ready to boil on Saturday, this worked out perfectly. The crawfish arrived early Friday morning and I promptly did as he said, hosed them down in the sack, and placed them into a cooler with a bag of ice over them. I peeked around through the purple sack in awe of the size of some of the little devils, as their beady little eyes watched me as well.

From Crawfish Boil

When Saturday rolled around I hosed them down again and placed them back into the cooler, again covered with ice. I invited my brother Brad and his girlfriend Heather over for a boil, the 15 lbs would be more than enough for the four of us, you see, up in Michigan folks don’t crush the 5-8 pounds that can be standard in Louisiana.

From Crawfish Boil

I got my liquid boiling away (my crawfish boil recipe) in the afternoon in a 30 quart Turkey Fryer with a basket insert at the ready. I cut my onions, lemons, garlic, corn, washed the new potatoes and headed out to cut the sack open and sort through the critters to remove any casualties from travel and time, and I was pleased to find that there were very few dead ones, and in fact the majority were extremely feisty.

From Crawfish Boil
From Crawfish Boil

Even more impressive than than how feisty they were, was their size, varying from medium to gargantuan like this one.

From Crawfish Boil

I picked through them one by, sorting them in my 2 1/2 year old daughters wading pool, as she watched in horror. “In my poool!!! in my pool!!”

From Crawfish Boil

After I got them sorted I washed them several times by first hosing them down, then leaving them in the basket and placing it into a large pot, filling it with water, draining, filling with water, draining, until the remaining water was eventually clean, about 3-4 times. Clean and ready for the boil!

From Crawfish Boil

Coming next, the Crawfish Boil Recipe using Cajun Grocer’s Crawfish!

Related Posts:

Crawfish Etouffee Recipe

Preview Pic!

From Crawfish Boil

Be sure to check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes whick links to every recipe featured on Nola Cuisine!

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Praline Sweet Potato Recipe

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This is my play on Candied Yams for the rapidly approaching Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s kind of like Candied Yams on PCP, and could easily play as a side dish or a dessert on the holiday table. I gave this one a test run a few weeks back when I cooked the Turducken feast when trying out the Cajun Grocer Turducken.

Praline Sweet Potatoes Recipe

5 Large Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Pecan pieces, toasted until fragrant

For the sauce:

1/2 Cup Bourbon
1/4 Cup Water
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Steen’s 100% Pure Cane Syrup
1 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1 tsp Kosher Salt
A few turns of freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 Cup Pecan pieces, toasted until fragrant

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

Bake the Sweet Potatoes in their Jackets until fork tender, about 45 minutes to one hour. Peel while still warm and let cool. When cool slice into 1/2″ rounds.
Layer the sweet potatoes in a large buttered casserole dish. One layer of sweet potatoes, then sprinkle with some of the pecans, another layer of sweet potatoes, then pecans, etc… until the sweet potatoes are all used up, top with the remaining Pecans.

To make the sauce:

Warm the Bourbon in a saucepan over medium heat and ignite to burn off most of the alcohol. When the flames subside add the water, brown sugar, cane syrup, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, and sesame oil. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to medium low and whisk in the butter, until all is incorporated and melted. Pour over the sweet potatoes in the prepared casserole.

Bake in the 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Serve hot.

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

Thanksgiving Related Posts:

Turducken
Oyster Dressing Recipe
Turkey Bone Gumbo Recipe

Be sure and check out my ever growing Index of Creole & Cajun Recipes which links to all of the recipes featured here on Nola Cuisine!

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Turducken

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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!

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