Last fall, when I was reading The Essential New York Times Cookbook, I giggled when I read the Turducken recipe. A turkey stuffed with a duck and a chicken? It struck me as monstrously excessive and I just knew that My Pirate would love it. So, I showed him the recipe and he wanted to try it. When we learned that My Kid and his lovely girlfriend would be joining us for Thanksgiving (hooray!) I decided to splurge on making a Turducken.
Now, I normally try to cook all new (to me) recipes for Thanksgiving, but this year I decided to go with all old comfy recipes and focus all of my energy on the Turducken. I put a Papa Murphy's Cowboy pizza in the back fridge for a back up dinner, just in case we crashed and burned. And I served My Pirate a glass of his kryptonite (rum and coke) before we started, because I didn't want to risk a visit from Super Charlie.
I purchased my free range turkey, chicken, and duck from New Seasons and they deboned them for no added cost. Another reason to love New Seasons! New Seasons sells assembled Turduckens, but I wanted the adventure of assembling our own.
The garden gnomes look skeptical at our bag of deboned turkey, duck, and chicken!
First, I made a savory batch of stuffing. Then, we placed our largest cutting board beside the sink and Charlie assembled the Turducken while I took bad (sorry!) pictures and seasoned the different layers with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
1. Lay out the turkey. Season it.
2. Add a layer of stuffing.
3. Add the duck and chicken and repeat the process.
Those garden gnomes are still looking skeptical.
Steel yarn needles work great at stitching up a Turducken!
4. Stitch up the Turducken. It takes two sets of hands to push the roast together and stitch it.
We carefully placed the Turducken in the pan. And I added a turkey lacer pin to help hold it together. We refrigerated the Turducken over night. Then I slid it into the oven early on Thanksgiving morning.
And it was done right on time!
I served the first course of Sweet Potato Jalapeño Soup, while the Turducken rested on the countertop under a foil tent for 30 minutes.
Then My Pirate carved it while I made the gravy. The Turducken gravy was the best batch of poultry gravy that I've ever made. It was simply amazing! My Pirate is hoarding the leftovers. Seriously, he wouldn't send any home with My Kid.
Look at all those delicious layers!
My first Turducken was delicious, but it needs a few added tweaks. I recommend brining all three birds overnight before assembling it and swaddling the skin in a layer of bacon or prosciutto. Next time, I'll add a layer of blanched kale with each layer of stuffing. And make a different stuffing for each layer.
Here's the link to the recipe at the New York Times. I enjoyed the adventure of making and serving our Turducken. But, My (sweet) Kid said that he still prefers my roasted chicken. And I agree. However, the memory of the amazing Turducken gravy will stay with me. I wonder what we'll make next year for Thanksgiving. Any suggestions?