cajun food, chickens, duck, louisianna food, maine shrimp, paul Prudhomme, turducken, turkey

Lithuanian Kūčios and a Cajun Christmas Pt.2

If Christmas Eve marked the traditional, than Christmas Day celebrated a bit of the unconventional. Knowing that the Missus and I were without family in Maine, and celebrating their first Christmas being ‘Mainers,’ Dawn and Adam invited us over for Christmas Day dinner. Their friend, Shelley, along with her partner, Dan, were making the trip down from Nova Scotia for the holiday and they wanted to make something spectacular for Christmas. Then, somewhere along the way–I’m not sure who exactly proposed it–a Turducken was hatched. It could have been Shelley, whose roots stretch deep into Louisianna or Dawn, who never seems to have medium sized dreams. Either way, that beautiful bird pictured above, has two other beauties packed into it’s mostly boneless carcass, ala Chef Paul Prudhomme.

When I told family members what we were making, outside of my precious Grandmother who couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the concept of birds stuffed into one another like Russian nesting dolls, there were two questions asked:

  1. Is it hard to debone?
  2. How long did it take to cook?
  • The first question is easy, we didn’t have to. When I ordered the birds from Whole Foods, I simply asked them to de-bone the animals for us and they did without charge. Then I whisked them away to Dawn’s where the four of them did all of the stuffing and sewing and were grateful that hours of de-boning had been taken off their hands.
  • How long? Well, I believe this took about 9.5-10 hours, but there were factors to consider. The roasting pan could have been a little bit bigger, which would have evened out the cooking. The thermometer that I brought hadn’t been calibrated in a while and wasn’t meant to be heated with the meats in the oven but when it was realized I decided to just go with it. But, anything that weighs around 20lbs is going to take a while to cook and luckily there was cards, wine and Angry Birds to keep us occupied until the kitchen was properly descended upon.

But, much like Kūčios, I had very little involvement in the whole thing. Shelley, bless her heart, dealt with all of us sniffing around the kitchen, asking if the oven was high enough and picking off any/all scraps of food that may have become available. And then, when it was finally done, we descended like a pack of rabid dogs.

The Turducken was stuffed with a traditional Andouille stuffing, while a Maine shrimp cornbread stuffing was served on the side.

Now, because of my general boycott of turkey, a little red wine did help me not mentally freak out, which was fantastic because it was probably the best turkey I’ve ever had in my life. The fact that it was in a smaller roasting pan meant that it basically braised itself in all of the fats–turkey, duck and butter–that found their way into the pan. While none of us could have pointed out where the chicken was in this feat, the duck was probably the most sought after (which, I was told that we actually had a Tur-chick-uck because the chicken actually turned out to be larger than the duck).

The finished plate had a salad Dawn made with roasted cranberries and pecans. I made a green bean dish with La Quercia Prosciutto. Shelley also made a Sweet Potato and Eggplant ‘gravy’ that was truly unique.

Sadly, I completely forgot to snap a picture of the Vanilla Bread Pudding w/Whiskey Sauce that I had made, using the recipe from Commanders Palace in New Orleans, as a guide. It was the perfect ending to a brilliant meal shared with old friends and new.