Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am a turkey baby, my first meal was Thanksgiving dinner. My mother had me at 3:05am after a big family Thanksgiving dinner 38 years ago today. This is my favorite holiday and my birthday all wrapped up in pumpkin pie.

So, I celebrated by cooking a feast for my husband, myself, and my best girlfriend who is from Louisiana. Born and raised on turkey feasts, this is my cooking specialty. This year, I made an Emeril's CAJUN turkey. I highly recommend this recipe, this spicy version is sure to please. My guest "Cajun" was raging with delight. It is roasted like traditional turkey, but with a cayanne "Kick" and stripes of spicy goodness in the meat. Mouth-watering isn't it...this needs smell-a-vision...

Emeril's "Pepper Stuffed Turkey" Recipe [also in "Real and Rustic" cookbook by Emeril Lagasse].


  • 2 sticks butter cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • Salt and cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 8 to 10 pickled peppers (recommended: Cajun Chef Brand Sport Peppers)
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice from the pepper jar
  • 1 small turkey, about 10 to 12 pounds


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the butter with salt and cayenne pepper. Freeze the butter for 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the onions, peppers, garlic, sport peppers and pickle juice together. Season the mixture with salt and cayenne pepper.

Place a large towel on a cutting board. Place the turkey directly on top of the cloth. This will prevent the turkey from sliding. Remove the neck, gizzards and livers from the cavity of the turkey. Rinse the turkey under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey, breast side up, on the work surface with the cavity facing you. Using a sharp knife, make three slits on either side of the breast bone, without breaking through the skin. Insert 2 to 3 slices of the frozen butter into each slit. Season each slit with salt and cayenne pepper. Insert about a teaspoon of the vegetable mixture into each slit, pushing with your fingers. Gently pull the drumstick forward and outward to expose the inner thigh Pull the skin away from the meat. Make a slit following the bone line from the top of each leg. Using your index finger, make a path and stuff with the butter and vegetables. Season the skin which has been loosened around the inner thigh with salt and cayenne pepper. With the neck opening facing you, lift the skin flap and make a slit down each wing from the shoulder, again following the bone lines. Stuff each wing with butter and vegetables. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and cayenne pepper. Stuff the cavity with any leftover butter and vegetables. Secure the wings by folding the lower half back over the top of the wing. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the turkey in a large deep roasting pan.

Roast the turkey for 15 to 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F. Cover the turkey with a lid and bake for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear. Remove from the pan and let cool for 10 minutes. Lift the turkey out of the pan and carve. Serve with the pan juices.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. We all have much to be thankful - family and friends, our health, good home cooking... and pumpkin pie! SMb

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