Thanksgiving Traditions: Paula George’s Deep-fried turkey

The Thanksgiving turkey. A dish that has reached mythical proportions in this country. Many of us have spent days planning, hours cooking and long moments wondering about reactions.

The Thanksgiving turkey. A dish that has reached mythical proportions in this country. Many of us have spent days planning, hours cooking and long moments wondering about reactions.

How many times have you overcooked the turkey? Sure, it might sound like a rookie mistake, but we’ve all had dry meat at the table.

“We deep-fry them whenever we can, especially when they’re on sale. It’s easy to stick them in the freezer.”

For Paula George, it was about 15 years ago when dry turkey became a thing of the past.
Her uncle, Louisiana native John Howington, fed her a deep-fried turkey, and it stuck.

“It was more moist and tasty,” she said.

Since then, George estimates that she and her brother have fried more than 500 turkeys.

“We deep-fry them whenever we can, especially when they’re on sale. It’s easy to stick them in the freezer,” she said.

Her uncle’s recipe includes a mixture of Cajun spices and butter that is injected directly into the bird in a few different places. The best turkeys are 12 to 15 pounds, and the cooking process takes only 40 to 45 minutes for a defrosted bird, George said. So much for spending all day in the kitchen.

She prefers to dress her turkey with a baked dish including celery, onion and sausage, with a mixture of dry and fresh breads cooked in butter and chicken broth, for a more “subtle flavor.”

RECIPE:

Thanksgiving Turkey

1 12-to-15-pound turkey (thawed)
1/4 cup Cajun seasoning
1 stick of margarine
1/2 cup of water

Stuffing:

1 bag unseasoned bread cubes
4-6 slices pumpernickel bread (cubed)
1 pound pork sausage
4 celery stalks (diced)
1 medium onion (diced)
1 stick butter or margarine
48 ounces of chicken stock or broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Turkey: Heat the margarine, seasoning and water on stovetop to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes and let cool. Clean turkey and drain liquid. With an injector needle, inject turkey with marinade in several places (breast, legs, thighs, wings). Deep-fry in peanut oil for about 3 minutes per pound. Remove from oil and drain, let sit 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Stuffing: In a Dutch oven, brown sausage, remove and drain fat. Let cool and crumble. In Dutch oven, melt butter and add onions and celery, cook 5 minutes until tender. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add bread cubes and sausage, mix together and place in a buttered casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until slightly brown on top.