6 Traditional Cajun Thanksgiving Recipes | The Gregory (2024)

6 Traditional Cajun Thanksgiving Recipes | The Gregory (1)

Traditional New Orleans Thanksgiving recipes add new twists to your typical holiday dishes.Many Cajun and Creole dishes stay true to a traditional Thanksgiving feast, butextra flavors and distinctly Cajun dishes shake upthe usual meal.

Test out these Louisiana Thanksgiving recipes with our Cajun Thanksgiving recipe guide.

How Is a Cajun Thanksgiving Different Than a Traditional Thanksgiving?

Here are a few of the major differences between a Cajun Thanksgiving and a traditional Thanksgiving:

  • Different food types:The typical Cajun Thanksgiving table is overflowing with way too much food, including many Southern staples.Somedishes, like cornbread dressing, are made most often for Thanksgivings and special occasions.In addition, many everyday Cajun foods are featured on theThanksgiving table. It’s common to see a pot of gumbo or jambalaya along with the turkey. Before the meal, you might see andouille or boudin, a pork sausage that contains rice and spices. Shrimp is another common option ona Cajun Thanksgiving menu.
  • Spices:Traditional Cajun Thanksgiving recipes are full of flavor and seasoning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the dishes are all spicy. While many Cajun disheshavesome heat, many disheshave mild flavors.People often add their own heat in the form of hot sauce, which is readily available at all Cajun celebrations.
  • Trinity of Cajun food:A prominent component in Baton Rouge and New Orleans Thanksgiving recipes is known as the trinity of Cajun food. The three ingredients in the trinity are onions, bell peppers and celery.Many Louisiana dishes include these signature ingredients.
  • Roux:Roux is another common part of Cajun cooking. You create a roux by mixing and cooking flour, oil and water in an iron skillet over low heat. It’s essential to stir this mixture constantly to avoid burntroux.
  • Guest lists:Just as important as the food is the guest list. Cajun Thanksgiving celebrations are often large and full of people. These family-friendly events often include anopen-tablepolicy where there’s always room for everyone. Celebrations may include friends and neighbors, not just relatives. The event is anything but calm, quietorformal.

6 Traditional Cajun Thanksgiving Recipes | The Gregory (2)

6 Traditional Southern-Style Thanksgiving Recipes

You can enjoy Southern-style Thanksgiving dishes during the holiday season or at any point during the year. Build your own Cajun-Creole Thanksgiving by testing out these 6 recipes:

1. Cajun Turkey Recipe

Just like most Thanksgiving menus, the turkey is the star of the show in theSouth. There are two main options for cooking a turkey in Louisiana: indoors in the oven or outdoors in a turkey fryer. You can also smoke the turkey and keep with the Cajun tradition. Each cooking method has its own merits, so it all depends on your personal preference and the cooking tools you own or can borrow.

Deep-fryingthe turkey creates a moist bird with a crispoutside. Add flavor to the fried turkey by injecting it with melted butter mixed with Cajun seasoning and letting it marinate overnight. The injected flavoring also boosts the moisture of the bird,resulting in a delicious taste.

Frying a whole turkeyis slightly riskierthan the traditional oven method. Small turkeys work best because they are easier to handle and cook faster, reducing the risk of burning the outside of the bird. Aim for about 8 to 10 pounds or 12 to 14 pounds max. Place the turkey fryer outdoors on level ground and away from anything that could be damaged by the splattering grease.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees before slowly lowering the bird into the fryer. Cook the birdforabout 3 to 4 minutes for every pound. A 10-pound turkey should cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. It should reach 165 to 170 degrees in the breast. Let the turkey rest at least 15 minutes before carving it.

If you roast your turkey in the oven, let it soak in brine before cooking. A Cajun turkey brine recipe gives your bird something special while keeping it deliciously moist. Brine is a salty liquid solution with other spices and flavorings. As the turkey soaks in the solution, it absorbs the moisture and the flavor of the ingredients.

Brine recipes are very versatile. Here are common ingredients for the seasoning blend:

  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

If you prefer, you can use a premade Cajun seasoning mix instead of the individual spices.

Start the brine by dissolving 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of sugar in a gallon of water. Add about 1 tablespoon each of the seasonings you want to include. Add onion, celery and carrots for extra flavor if you prefer. Bring it all to a boil to help bring out the flavors. Let the mixture cool completely. It should be cold before you use it with the turkey.

Place the turkey in a brining bag, pour the brine over it and seal the bag. Let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before cooking.

Follow these steps to finish roasting your turkey:

  1. Pull it out of the brine. Make sure all the liquid pours out of the internal cavity.
  2. Pat the turkey dry.
  3. Use half of a stick of melted butter and the same Cajun seasonings from your brine to create a rub for the turkey.
  4. Rub the mixture over the turkey, pulling away the skin to apply it directly on the breast.
  5. Place the skin back down before placing it in the oven.
  6. Follow the package directions to know how long to roast the turkey. Use a meat thermometer to gauge its status to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.

2. Cornbread Dressing

When choosing your Creole Thanksgiving recipes, don’t forget your cornbread dressing. Not to be confused with stuffing, cornbread dressing is a staple in Cajun country. The basic ingredients in this dressing are cornbread, broth and various herbs and seasonings. You’ll find a lot of variation in the recipes, with additions including sausage, ground beef and oysters. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with the seasonings and extras you include in the dressing.

For a basic cornbread dressing, gather these ingredients:

  • Cooled cornbread, cut or broken into bite-sized chunks
  • 2tablespoonsbutter
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1poundandouille sausage (or another meat)
  • ½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2tablespoonschopped fresh sage
  • 2tablespoonschopped fresh thyme
  • 2tablespoonschopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken broth plus extra if needed
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 large eggs

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onions, pepper and celery, and cook them until they start to soften. Combine the cooked veggies with the cornbread, cooked and diced andouille sausage, parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.

Add the initial 2 cups of broth to the cornbread mixture. If the cornbread immediately soaks up all of the liquid, add a little more. You want the bread to be saturated with a little left in the bottom that doesn’t get absorbed immediately to ensure it is moist enough.

At this point, you can taste the mixture and add more seasonings as desired. Add melted butter if you want a richer flavor. When the flavor is just right, mix in two slightly beaten eggs.

Pour the dressing mixture into a greased baking pan. Spread the mixture evenly in the pan, and cover it with foil. Bake the dressing for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees, so it’s heated through. Take off the foil, and bake the dressing for another 20 to 30 minutes to get a crisp, browned top.

3. Deviled Eggs

One of the most popular Cajun Thanksgiving appetizers is deviled eggs. They’re easy to make and easy to pop in your mouth while you take a break from chopping all those onions, peppers and celery.

To make deviled eggs, you need these ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • ½ stalk celery
  • ½ bell pepper
  • Smoked paprika to taste
  • Chopped green onions to taste

Start by boiling your eggs. Cool the cooked eggs, remove the shells and rinse them. Cut each egg in half. Scoop out the cooked yolks into a bowl. Add just enough mayonnaise and mustard to the yolks to make a creamy mixture.

Add your choice of Cajun additions togive the deviled eggs a burst of flavor.Stirthe additions into the mixture, and scoop it back into the egg halves. Sprinkle the tops with paprika orgreen onion flakesfor the finishing touch.

4. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoesare a stapleon many Thanksgiving tables around the country, but they are particularly important at a Southern Thanksgiving celebration. There are many ways to serve a sweet potato casserole. TheSouthern style is famous for its sticky sweet consistency and the gooey praline top.

To achieve this sweet masterpiece, you need the proper ingredients for the casserole and the praline topping. These are the components of the casserole:

  • 8 medium sweet potatoes
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2teaspoonscinnamon
  • ½teaspoonvanilla extract
  • ¼teaspoonsalt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

And you need these ingredients for the praline topping:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 small can evaporated milk
  • 1tablespoonbutter
  • 1teaspoonvanilla extract
  • ¼teaspoonsalt
  • ½teaspooncinnamon

Start by peeling, chopping and boiling your sweet potatoes until they are soft. Drain the water off them, and blend them with a mixer to make them smooth. Mix together the half-and-half, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt and egg. You can adjust any of the amounts to your preferences if you want more sweetness or a stronger cinnamon or vanilla flavor. Add the mixture to the sweet potatoes and stir well. Spread the sweet potatoes into a greased baking dish.

To make the praline topping, meltthebutter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar, evaporated milk, salt, cinnamon and pecans. Stir the mixture constantly as it cooks over low heat for aboutfiveminutes. Once the mixture is thick, pull it from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Pour the topping onto the sweet potatoes.

Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake the sweet potato casserole covered at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake the casserole for another 10 to 15 minutes until it is hot and gooey.

5. Spinach Madeleine

Spinach madeleine is a bit like a spinach dip but served in hot casserole form. It’s a traditional Louisiana recipe and a favorite at the Thanksgiving table.

The ingredients for this dish include:

  • 2 packages of frozen, chopped spinach
  • 4tablespoons ofbutter
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 3tablespoons offlour
  • ½ cup of reserved spinach liquid
  • 2tablespoons ofchopped onion
  • 6 ounces of jalapeno jack cheese or similar spicy cheese
  • 1teaspoon ofWorcestershire sauce
  • ½teaspoon ofpepper
  • ½teaspoongarlic powder
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup melted butter

Cook your spinach according to the package directions. Drain the cooking liquid off the spinach, and save it.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt your butter, and add the flour. Stir the mixture until it is blended and smooth without being brown. Stir in the onions, and cook them just until they are soft. Pour in the evaporated milk and spinach liquid. Stir the liquid constantly as you add it tokeep it smooth. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it is smooth and thick.

Add the cheese, Worcestershire sauce and all the seasonings to the mix. Continue stirring until the cheese is completely melted. Pour the mixture into a prepared baking dish. At this point, you can put the mixture into the refrigerator if you make it ahead of time. When you’re ready to cook it, bring the casserole to room temperature before baking. Combine the breadcrumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Pop the dish into a 375-degree oven just long enough to make it bubbly and golden.

6. Cajun Rice Dressing

Cajun or Creole rice dressinghas many different versionsof the recipe, each with slightly different additions to the basic rice mixture. You can leave out any of theingredientsor substitute them with other ingredients.

The ingredients you need for Cajun rice dressing include:

  • ½poundlean ground beef
  • ½poundlean ground pork
  • ¼poundchopped chicken giblets
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½teaspoonpepper
  • 2teaspoonWorcestershire sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Tabasco sauce to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Cook the beef, pork and giblets in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Season the meat with Tabasco and salt to your taste preferences. Add the onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and pepper. Cook and stir the mixture occasionally for about 10 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Simmer the mixture covered for about 30 minutes. Add the parsley and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the cooked rice.

Other Thanksgiving Traditions in New Orleans

In addition to the packed dinner table, New Orleans has a wide range of Thanksgiving traditions. Here are a few examples:

  • Visiting the Fair Grounds Race Course:The Thanksgiving holiday is an important milestone forthe Fair Grounds Race Coursein New Orleans. Many people visit the course on Thanksgiving or during the holiday weekend, watching races and celebrating with loved ones.
  • Stopping by multiple houses:Thanksgiving usually consists of multiple houses in New Orleans. Instead of staying at one home all day, people share food with their loved ones at many different homes.
  • Drinking co*cktails:Another signature component of a New Orleans Thanksgiving is the drinks. The city is famous for its adventurous co*cktails, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Some holiday-based drinks have infusions of sweet potatoes and other signature Thanksgiving dishes.
  • Celebrating Small Business Saturday:After completing the big meal, it’s common to shop at various small businesses during the weekend.

Visit The Gregory This Thanksgiving

Your favorite Cajun Thanksgiving recipes make the holiday a deliciously memorable one. But if you’re not in the mood to cook, you still have options for tasting these signature dishes.

Dine at The Gregory this Thanksgiving to enjoy delicious Cajun and Creole specialties without the hassle of cooking. We offer a premier dining experience that can elevate your family’s Thanksgiving to the next level. Enjoy the beautiful sightsof downtown historic New Orleanswhile experiencing our top-quality menu.

Makea reservation with The Gregorytoday to get started.

6 Traditional Cajun Thanksgiving Recipes | The Gregory (2024)
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