This Thanksgiving, it’s time to break with tradition. Instead of that same old dry roasted turkey, go fried, with Terry’s Cajun Turkey. It’s a recipe developed and perfected by Tallapoosa County Farmers Federation President Terry Martin.
“You’ll never settle for baked or smoked turkey again,” Terry’s wife, Ellen, says. “It is out of this world.”
In fact, Terry’s Cajun Turkey has become something of an institution in the Martins’ Kellyton community. Every year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, 60 or 70 folks gather for a day of fun, festivities and turkey frying.
“Everybody brings their deep-fat fryers and their marinated turkeys, and we just make a day of it,” Ellen says. “We’ll cook some to have that day, but mostly, everybody’s frying their turkeys for Thanksgiving. It’s just become an event.”
In the Martin household—which also includes Marci, a freshman at Auburn University; Jedd, a fourth-grader; and Ellen’s dad, M.B. Green—fantastic cooking is the rule, courtesy of both Ellen and Terry.
Although both work full time—he as a civil engineer with the State Department of Transportation and she as assistant principal at Jim Pearson Elementary School in Alex City—they enjoy getting home and heading for the kitchen.
Terry’s known for coming up with original recipes, like his hearty chili and his incredible Cheese Ball. Some of Ellen’s favorites, like Ham Balls and Nanny’s Fruitcake Cookies, were passed along to her by her mother. Others she’s simply collected through the years, like her recipe for Chicken Stew, for instance, which for years was made and sold as a fund-raiser for a county elementary school.
“I’ll warn you, it sounds strange and doesn’t look all that appetizing,” Ellen says. “But it is absolutely delicious.” In August, a major change occurred at the Martins’ place. Citing economic reasons, Terry, a 22-year veteran cattleman, sold his entire 65-cow brood herd.
“With a herd the size mine was, you just can’t make any money any more,” Terry says. “Especially after this summer’s drought, trying to feed them through the winter was going to be rough.”
In all likelihood, however, Terry hasn’t given up cattle farming for good. He says he might get back into it in the spring; Ellen says there’s no “might” about it.
“It’s in his blood,” she says. “There’s no way you could keep him out of it.”
Until then, he’ll be spending more time in the kitchen, working alongside Ellen to put together mouth-watering recipes like these they share with County Kitchen readers this month.