I was thrown for a loop a few weeks ago when my Grandma (hi Oma!) announced that we would be having Turducken for our Christmas Eve dinner. This time it wasn’t her thick German accent that was throwing me off – “Yeah, TUR-DUCK-EN” she enunciated and quickly explained: a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken. I instantly had two thoughts running simultaneously: either my family is crazy or we had just created the mother of all culinary inventions.
I later found out that Turducken wasn’t our family’s invention at all, but rather a very popular holiday feast in the southern states. Tante Evelyn (my aunt ~ did I mention we’re German?) had seen Turducken featured on the Food Network and thought it would be a fun addition to the dinner table this year.
All three birds are boned except for the drumsticks on the turkey and literally stuffed into one another then surrounded by a Cajun pork stuffing. I know, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around it, too.
Tante Evelyn ordered the pork-ish, gamey poultry from CajunGrocer.com who shipped us the deboned and stuffed bird(s) packed with dry ice straight from Louisiana. We unpacked and cooked similar to a traditional turkey: covered and baked at 350 degrees for four hours, then uncovered and continued to bake for an additional hour. The house smelled amazing all day.
Cutting the bird was one of the most fun “packages” we opened that night – everyone gathered around my Dad in the kitchen as he sliced and identified the different layers as they were exposed. The surprise factor for me was how evenly and perfectly moist every part of the bird turned out. I was a little nervous about the chicken and duck meat drying out in the oven for five hours, but somehow the combination of everything worked really well together.
When you eat the bird you can taste the different flavors, and the spicy pork sausage stuffing not only held everything together logistically, but also complemented the flavors and added a nice spice.
My final analysis: Turducken is an experience that tastes as good as it is fun to say
Deboning three birds is more than intimidating to me, but here’s a recipe for the brave, sans pork stuffing: Turducken Recipe, courtesy of Paula Dean.