One of the most amazingly simple Cajun recipes is Cajun fried turkey. When you start talking about a turkey frying pot and all the oil that is needed, this dish might begin to sound a little daunting, but it's not. Imagine making Thanksgiving turkey in less than half the amount of time it normally takes, and you too might start thinking it's time to try this classic dish.
Fried Turkey Seasoning
Fried turkey seasonings can be as simple as salt and pepper, but, if you're making a typical Cajun fried turkey, more often than not this dish is quite a bit spicier. If you don't have all of the seasonings mentioned in the recipe below, use about a quarter cup of your favorite Cajun spice or Creole seasoning. And, of course, if you like it hotter, sprinkle on more of whatever pepper you choose.
Cajun Herb Mix
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 tablespoon crushed dried thyme
3 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried onion bits
6 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons crushed dried oregano
2 tablespoons crushed dried basil
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 crushed dried bay leaves
Cajun Fried Turkey
Ingredients You Will Need:
1 whole turkey (between 12 to 15 pounds is a good size)
½ cup Cajun Herb Mix, plus one tablespoon
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped pepper
10 green onions, whole
1 cup celery, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 bell peppers, chopped into 2-inch strips
1 large apple, quartered
1 large orange, quartered
2 to 3 gallons peanut oil
Rinse the turkey, and remove the giblets and neck. Cook the giblets and neck in about two cups of water to create stock. Toss in a handful of chopped onions and celery. Use this stock either to mash the potatoes with or to boil the rice in.
Use paper towels to pat dry the turkey, then set it on end, carefully widen the neck opening and coat both the inside and the outside with the Cajun Herb Mix, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix the onions, celery, peppers, apple and orange together in a bowl, and sprinkle the tablespoon of the Cajun Mix over the vegetables and fruits. Then stuff this juicy mixture into the cavity of the bird.
Use skewers to keep the neck hole open so that the oil can pass through but the vegetables and fruits do not fall out. Use a skewer to also poke holes into the body of the turkey to make sure all flavors mesh as the bird deep-fries.
Place the turkey into the basket that comes with your turkey frying pot, neck end pointing downward so that the oil will more readily enter the chest cavity. Slowly lower the turkey until the hot oil has covered it. Keep an even heat of about 350 degrees Fahrenheit going, and make sure the kettle is covered at all times to avoid burns from hot oil bubbling and also to keep the heat balanced. A twelve-pound turkey will require approximately 45 minutes of cooking time. Add about three or four minutes per pound, but do not cook too long.
The turkey will be done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh meat, without touching the bone, registers 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful when removing the turkey from the hot oil. Raise the basket high enough so that the oil can drain from the bird's cavity before you place the turkey on the platter. Allow it to set for 5 to 10 minutes before it is carved.
Caution: Use a turkey frying kit, which comes with a basket and oil, for this recipe. Follow the directions to the letter, and be sure to fry the turkey outdoors. Do not fry the turkey on a porch or in a garage where anything is overhead because the oil may ignite if it gets too hot. Set the apparatus up on level ground so it does not tip over while the hot turkey is frying, and monitor the turkey at all times.
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