A week after Thanksgiving and the leftovers are all out of the fridge. We are still working on the giant squash in many different forms but the turkey is now nothing but memories and flavor in the soup stock.
This year the only thing local about my Thanksgiving was my dining room table in Seattle and the organic turkey gifted to us from our local organic market. The rest came straight from Louisiana via Mississippi, via Missouri, via Illinois, and then to Seattle (in other words UPS does not go in straight lines when hauling perishables).
Inspired by the place of my boyfriend's birth we planned a Cajun Thanksgiving, right down to the crawfish. Thank you Bon Appetit magazine of 3 years ago for your cajun turkey rub and crawfish gravy recipe. The rest came right of one my favorite authentic cookbooks Cajun Cuisine by Beau Bayou Publishing Company.
Instead of stuffing we had Boudin sausage Jambalaya. For veggies we ate cauliflower au gratin and persimmon, pomegranite, fennel salad with baby kale (not cajun but really good and seasonal).
A lot of bacon was cooked in order to soak this cheesecloth and wrap it around our turkey to create this turkey mummy.
I have to thank my collegue and fellow poet Elizabeth Austen for the idea to wrap the turkey in bacon soaked cheesecloth.
If you lovely readers get nothing out of my Thanksgiving report out remember to make a bacon grease cheesecloth turkey mummy for the most perfectly browned and moist turkey ever. Also please google Elizabeth and buy her wonderful book of poetry.
If you are inspired by our Cajun Thanksgiving brought to you by the online shopping experience of the cajungrocer.com (who will try to sell you a Turducken) then here are the recipes you will need to make yourself a merry little cajun christmas dinner.
Cajun Spice Rubbed Turkey
5 tbsp course sea salt
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp paprika (not smoked)
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 large onion
1 celery stalk
1 green bell pepper
1-2 lbs of cooked bacon, for the grease
Step 1: Measure all the spice ingredients into a single bowl.
Step 2: Blend with a fork until everything is well mixed.
Step 3: Use at least 1/2 cup of the cajun rub on your 12 to 14 lb turkey. Massage the mixture into the skin, sprinkle some into the cavity, and push some under the breast skin.
Step 4: Let the turkey sit, breast side down, in the refrigerator covered in rub overnight.
Step 5: Take the turkey out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you want to begin to cook it.
Step 6: Cut the lemon and orange into eighths, and chop the onion, celery, and green pepper into large chunks. Stuff the entire turkey cavity with the fruit and vegetables.
Step 7: Cook the 1 to 2 pounds of bacon. The amount will depend on the size of your turkey so you have enough grease to soak your cheesecloth. After you have cooked the bacon, let the grease in the pan cool slightly then dip your cheesecloth in it until the entire cloth is soaked.
Step 8: Set the cheesecloth aside until it is cool enough to handle. When it is cool enough and your turkey has been sitting outside of the refrigerator for at least an hour you are ready to wrap the turkey in cheesecloth.
Step 9: Carefully wrap the turkey in the grease soaked cheesecloth and place in the oven at 375 degrees. Bake for the required amount of time for your turkey weight.
5 tbsp of bacon grease
6 tbsp of all-purpose of garbonzo bean flour (for gluten free)
1/2 lb of cooked bacon cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
1/2 cup of finely chopped celery
1/2 cup of finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped jalepeno pepper
3 tbsp of fresh garlic, chopped
2 tbsp of cajun rub (from turkey recipe above)
3 cups of chicken broth
1 lb of peeled crawfish tails
Step 1: Cook bacon in a cast iron skillet (or use the bacon from the turkey recipe above) and transfer the bacon out of the skillet to a paper towel.
Step 2: Whisk the flour into the bacon drippings and cook on low until a roux forms and is a dark brown shade.
Step 3: Add onion, pepper, celery, jalepenos, and garlic. Cook all of them on low until soft then increase the heat to medium and add to bacon, cajun rub mix, and chicken broth.
Step 4: Simmer the mixture for roughly 25 minutes until it thickens.
Step 5: Stir in the crawfish and simmer until the tails curl, remove from heat and serve.
Cauliflower au Gratin
1 whole cauliflower
2 tsp of yellow mustard
1/2 tsp of salt
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
3/4 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese
dash of paprika
Step 1: Cut the cauliflower into small pieces and place into a cast iron casserole dish.
If you do not have cast iron use a ceramic casserole with a cover.
Step 2: Add the mustard, mayo and salt to the cauliflower and mix thoroughly.
Step 3: Cover the mixture with the sharp cheddar and paprika and cover. Bake everything together for at least 1 hour at 350 to 375 degrees.
Step 4: When everything is soft and savory it is ready to serve.