Turducken (a Chicken in a Duck in a Turkey)
The Turducken will need to cook for 12 or 13 hours at 190 degrees F, so
begin preparation well in advance.
1 (20 to 25 pound) whole turkey
1 (4 to 5 pound) whole duckling
1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
Corn bread dressing
Place the cleaned turkey, breast side down, on a flat surface. Cut
through the skin along the length of the spine. Using the tip of a knife
and starting from neck end, gently separate meat from rib cage on one
side. Toward neck end, cut through meat to expose shoulder blade; cut
meat away from and around the bone, severing bone at the joint to remove
shoulder blade. Disjoint wing between second and third joints. Leave the
wing bones and keep the wing attached to the meat.
Continue separating meat from frame, heading toward the thighbone and
being careful to keep the "oyster" (pocket of meat on back) attached to
skin, rather than leaving with bone. Cut through ball-and-socket joint
to release thighbone from carcass (bird will be open on one side,
exposing bones left to deal with). Keep the leg attached to the meat.
Repeat boning procedure on the other side of the bird. Carefully remove
carcass and reserve for making stock. You should end up with a flat
boneless (except for wings and legs) turkey with the skin intact in one
large piece. Cover the boned turkey and set aside (or chill).
Repeat the process on the duckling and chicken, but cut off the first
two joints of wings, and debone both stumps of wings and leg drumsticks
(cut through flesh at thinnest point and trim around these bones with a
knife until they can be removed). Trim excess skin and fat from necks of
birds. If it is your first time deboning a fowl, it is advisable to
practice first on the chicken rather than the turkey. Both the chicken
and duck will be stuffed inside the turkey and need not be kept
"perfectly" intact. Make stock from the chicken carcass.
Prepare Seasoning Mix and set aside.
3 tablespoons salt
1 to 2 tablespoons paprika
1 to 2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 to 2 tablespoons pepper
1 to 2 teaspoons dried thyme
Prepare Sausage Stuffing.
3 cups onions, diced
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
2 pounds spicy Italian sausage
3 tablespoons paprika
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups toasted bread crumbs
Melt butter in large skillet over high heat. Add onions and celery.
SautÃ© until onions are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12
minutes. Add sausage to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes or until
the meat is browned, stirring frequently. Add paprika and minced garlic
and cook about 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Stir
in chicken stock and bring to simmer. Continue cooking until water
evaporates and oil rises to top, about 10 minutes.
Stir in toasted bread crumbs and mix well. Add more bread crumbs if
mixture is too moist.
Prepare a similar amount of another stuffing such as corn bread stuffing.
At least 13 to 14 hours before dinner, assemble the Turducken.
Spread the turkey, skin down, on flat surface, exposing as much meat as
possible. Rub 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix evenly on meat. Spread
sausage stuffing over the turkey in an even layer approximately 3/4 inch
Place duck, skin down, on top of stuffing. Season exposed duck meat with
about 1 tablespoon of seasoning mix. Spread corn bread stuffing in an
even layer (about 1/2 inch thick) over the duck.
Arrange the chicken, skin down, evenly on top of corn bread stuffing.
Season chicken meat with seasoning mix. Spread remainder of sausage
and/or corn bread stuffing on top of chicken.
With another person's help, carefully lift the sides of the layered
birds, folding the sides of the turkey together. Have a helper hold the
bird while sewing the opening down the back of the turkey together using
cotton thread. The bird may not close perfectly, and a strip of cheese
cloth can be used to help close the "crack" in the back of the turkey so
stuffing will not leak out when the bird is turned over.
Since the Turducken has no skeleton, it must be trussed up or it may
fall apart in cooking. Tie cotton string around the bird, widthwise,
every inch or so along the bird's length. Turn the bird over and place
in a roasting rack inside a large roasting pan so it is oriented breast
side up and looks like a "normal" turkey. Tie the legs together just
above the tip bones.
Preheat oven to exactly 190 degrees F. Temperature control is critical
since the Turducken is so massive that it has to be cooked very slowly
at a low temperature. Using an oven thermometer is highly recommended.
Place the bird in the center of the oven and bake until a meat
thermometer inserted through to center reads 165 degrees F, about 12 to
13 hours. There will be no need to baste, but accumulated drippings will
have to be removed from the pan every few hours so that the lower
portion does not deep fry in the hot oil. Remove the Turducken from the
oven and let cool in the pan for an hour before serving. Make gravy
using your favorite recipe.
To serve, cut bird in half lengthwise. Carve crosswise so each slice
reveals all 3 meats and dressings.
Will make 15 to 25 servings.