Talking Turkey (Sort Of)
Take a chicken. Bone it. Stuff it with cornbread stuffing. Slather it with Cajun sausage, or maybe crawfish etouffee. Take a duck. Bone it. Stuff it with the chicken. Slather the duck with the sausage or the etouffee. Take a turkey. Bone it. Cram the duck that's been crammed with the chicken into its cavity. Sew it all up. Bake. Carve. Eat. Create a trend.
As it happens, that's exactly what the folks around Maurice, Louisiana, have been doing for the last decade or so. Okay, so maybe they haven't been creating a trend all that time -- until recently, the fowl dish described above, known as a turducken (turkey, duck, chicken -- get it?) hadn't moved much beyond its point of origin. For the most part, it's the locals who have swarmed butcher shops such as Hebert's Specialty Meats in Maurice for a holiday curiosity that's all but overshadowed the Cajun creation more familiar to Houstonians, the fried turkey.
But word of mouth -- or taste -- and a little publicity boost from a front-page article in the Wall Street Journal has put the turducken in the spotlight. So, for that matter, has the opening of a pair of Louisiana-native run shops in Houston, La Boucherie and Cajun Stuff. La Boucherie, started about two years ago on FM 1960 by Abbeville-bred ex-oilman Royce Hollier, was the first to offer freshly made turduckens in Houston, which is about the farthest west the non-mail order version of the bird has spread. Cajun Stuff, run by a trio with ties to Maurice, began selling its turduckens in February, also on FM 1960, not too terribly far from La Boucherie's first location (it's since added a second near Rice Village). Though much of the business has come from Louisiana expatriates, the owners of both La Boucherie -- which last week had sold out of its turducken supply and was preparing another 300 for the following day -- and Cajun Stuff -- which has been making about 100 turduckens a day to meet demand -- say that curiosity driven non-Cajuns have been doing a lot of the buying.
A sample tasting gives some indication why. The stuffing/bird/coating flavors mix surprisingly well, with the potentially greasy duck adding juice to the potentially dry turkey. The chicken, frankly, gets a little lost. It's not cheap, around $55 for a ready-to-bake 15 pounder, but at least you're not paying for bone. What's next? Well, back in Maurice, the owner of Herbert's used a turducken to stuff a boneless pig. That particular dish hasn't yet crossed the Sabine. But next year, who knows?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
La Boucherie, 3323-B FM 1960 W., (281) 583-8177, and 2531 Amherst (Village Arcade), 528-1477; Cajun Stuff, 5050