#35 Turducken

How should I stuff my turkey? It’s a question that’s plagued humanity since the beginning of time, or at least since the beginning of the turkey. For years, cooks around the world tried all sorts of different ingredients, from corn bread to rice, and even apples and nuts. Finally, in the early 1980s, a brave cook answered this question by stuffing his turkey with a duck, and if that weren’t brazen enough, he proceeded to stuff a chicken inside of that duck. Having no more room to stuff anything else, he placed his invention into the oven, and after several hours of cooking, the turducken was born. To borrow a phrase, this guy was a real man of genius.

I’ll bet the first people to see a turducken laughed, but I’m also willing to lay down money that all their plates were cleaned. With all the different stuffings and flavor combinations, eating turducken is like a wild party for your mouth (not dat kind of party!). Unlike most Cajun dishes however, this Acadian answer to the Russian doll is usually reserved for special occasions, due to price and the difficulty of making it. A cooked turducken may look just like a turkey, but once you cut into the deboned layers of meaty goodness and stuffing, you’re guaranteed some kee-yaws (oohs and ahhs for you non Cajuns) from your guests.

The turducken has a foggy history, with some people crediting Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme with creating the recipe while others credit New Orleans surgeon Gerald LaNasa, who was known for using a scalpel to prepare an early version of the dish. Whether the turducken was invented by a New Orleans doctor or a home town Cajun cook, a good idea is a good idea, and I’m declaring it a Cajun dish.

The best way to prepare the turducken is to go to the store, and buy one ready made. If you don’t believe me, then check out Paul Prudhomme’s insane turducken recipe. In one of his steps, you actually have to climb a mountain and slay a dragon. Ok, it’s not that complex, but it’s pretty damn close. These days, you can order a turducken from most local meat markets. With the popularity of turducken spreading across the South, it’s not too hard to find a store that will ship one across the country to you. So if you want to have a memorable Thanksgiving meal, try a turducken. It’ll beat mom’s dry baked turkey every time.

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Cajuns in the News: Paul Prudhomme takes a bullet, keeps on cookin’

Now dis here is a story about how you can’t keep a Cajun down. While setting up a cooking tent at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans Golf Tournament, famed Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme was hit by a falling .22 caliber bullet in the arm. Needless to say, Paul pulled through and finished his cookin’. Nuff said.

Updated Wednesday, March 26: 

In related news, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux were hunting over at the Audubon Zoo the other day, and Boudreaux completely missed dat elephant he was tryin’ to shoot.  There’s a $1 reward to anyone who finds his missing bullet.