Early New Orleans Thanksgivings were influenced heavily by an intermingling of French, Spanish, Italian, American Indian and African traditions. Fresh game, fruits and vegetables produced by the coastal, subtropical climate along the Gulf abounded in flavor and were instrumental in producing the dual cuisines sharing New Orleans as home: Cajun and Creole.
Today, these two styles of cooking which depend heavily on available fresh products incorporated into a home-style way of preparation team together into what is also called Louisiana cooking.
New Orleans Turkey en Papillote incorporates slices of fresh, naturally moist, turkey breast fillets, baked in parchment or foil, with a stuffing of purely local flavors including cornbread, pecans, yams, onions and celery, moistened with broth and spirited with bourbon as a seasoning. A glaze of brown sugar, butter and bourbon cover the turkey fillets during cooking, adding mouthwatering flavor to this Thanksgiving treat with a definite French inspiration.
New Orleans Turkey en Papillote recipe
1 yam, baked, peeled, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup butter
4 cups cornbread stuffing mix
1 cup chicken broth, heated
1/4 cup bourbon
1 egg, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
6 fresh turkey breast fillets
Saute yam, onion, celery and nuts until onion is translucent; mix into cornbread stuffing. Pour chicken broth and bourbon over stuffing, mix well. Stir in egg, salt and pepper.
Spoon 1/6 of stuffing on half of a 14″ circle of parchment or foil. Lay fillet on top, drizzle with glaze. Fold flap over and crimp edges to seal. Bake 25 minutes at 350 (add 15 minutes if foil is used); slash parchment in center, cook 15 minutes more.
Glaze: 2 T each brown sugar and butter, 1/4 cup bourbon. Cook all ingredients over medium heat, 5 minutes. Makes 6 servings.