• Tommy Centola

Making turkey star of table

Thanksgiving is almost here. The star of most tables is the turkey. Of course in Cajun country, they have developed a unique way of cooking their bird.

Cajun Fried Turkey is not a cooking method that one decides to do at the last minute. It requires planning and proper safety. There are many steps to take to ensure a tasty and accident free meal. This is definitely a dish that must be cooked outdoors.

The first thing is to make sure that your turkey is completely thawed. If not, there are two possible results. First, the skin will be crispy but the inside will be raw. Second, the meat will be cooked, but the skin will be unedible, which is one of the main reasons for frying a turkey.

You want to take extreme caution when deep frying a turkey. Make sure that you don’t put too much peanut oil in the fryer. If you do, you can cause an overflow of the oil which could lead to burns or even fire. To make sure you have enough but not too much oil, fill the pot with water and place the turkey inside the pot. Make sure to leave some space between the top level of the water and the top of the pot. The hot oil will rise some when the turkey is first submerged. Let’s head outside!

Turkey up to 16 pounds cleaned and dry, giblets and neck removed

Peanut oil

A thermometer attached to the pot with the tip sticking in the oil

Creole seasoning

Marinade and Injector.

Light the fryer and set at a low flame. Pour in peanut oil (for a 10-12 pound turkey use 1½ to 2 gallons oil; For a 13-16 pound turkey, use 2½ to 3 gallons of oil). Remember, do not over fill the pot. Heat oil to 325 degrees. Rub turkey with Creole Seasoning. If you use a marinade, inject the turkey twice in each breast and once in the thigh. It will take 15-20 minutes per pound.

Of course you can’t just serve turkey for dinner. I an including two side dishes, Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Dirty Rice (Rice Dressing). These two dishes almost always find their way to many holiday tables.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, washed and diced

4 tablespoons salt

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons butter

6 cloves Roasted Garlic, mashed (recipe to follow)

Salt and white pepper to taste

Boil potatoes with salt until tender and drain well. In same pot heat heavy cream, butter and mashed garlic. Remove from heat and add potatoes. Mash until creamy. Stir in salt and white pepper.

Roasted Garlic

1 head of garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 325 ℉.

Cut about 1/2 inch of the top of the garlic head. Cut the roots so that the garlic will sit flat. Remove most of the skin from the garlic, but leave enough so that the cloves stay together. Place the garlic in a small baking pan, drizzle the olive oil over the top of the garlic and cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Allow the garlic to cool before you handle it.

Dirty Rice

1 pound ground chuck

6 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

3 tablespoons Creole seasoning

2 cups chicken stock

Brown ground chuck over medium heat. Drain fat. Add the green onions and cook until soft. Add rice and mix well. Add Creole seasoning and mix well. Add stock and cook until it is all absorbed.

I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving! I know that the holidays can be a very busy time of year. Make this a special one by including good friends and good food!

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