Sunday, March 25, 2012

Xan et al: Creole Everything + Turducken!!!

The long-awaited Christmas Eve Eve turducken recap!  Sorry for taking so long...

Back before Christmas, mom pitched the possibility of buying a Costco turducken.  What a great idea!  We never did that before...

But this gave me an even better idea: why not make a turducken ourselves?  To make a turducken, you debone a turkey, a duck, and a chicken, and lay them flat on top of each other with a layer of stuffing between each.  Then you roll the whole thing up and tie it back into the shape of a turkey.

The hard part of this is supposed to be deboning the birds.  But loyal readers will recall that before Christmas I was practicing on chickens!  (umm, dead ones, mostly).  According to Jacques these birds are all pretty much the same inside, so why not?  Let's get to it!

This was a team effort.  Our photographers were not always paying attention, so you will just have to fill in the gaps with your imagination.

A 13.7 lb turkey, 2.5 lb chicken and 4.3 lb duck 

Deboning the chicken first:

Cutting the skin of the back

Pulling out the backbone.
That took about 15 minutes.  Next, the duck (his name is Charlie):

Charlie came from the Asian supermarket so he still had his head and feet!  This did not please the photographer and indeed may explain why there are no pictures of actually deboning the duck.  Sorry, Charlie!  The photographer has left the building.

She did return, however, to see Charlie dressed smartly in his duxedo: 

Charlie was dispatched in about 20 minutes.  There were some differences, like his rounded wishbone (good for approximate wishes) and almost negligible tenderloins, but overall he was pretty much the same inside.

The turkey, on the other hand, was quite difficult to work with, if only for his size.  Deboning this guy was a 45 minute workout:

Pulling out the backbone.  The drumstick bones are left in the turkey.

The backbone, with tenderloins still attached.
Incidentally, we ate the turkey, duck, and chicken tenderloins for a late-night snack; the bones were used for stock.

These deboned birds were then brined overnight.  Sadly, our photographers were not present for the next part, so you'll just have to imagine laying the turkey skin-side down, putting a layer of creole cornbread/sausage stuffing (which we had made) on top, then laying the duck down, then more stuffing, then the chicken, then more stuffing, and then rolling it up.

We used metal skewers to secure each rolled-up bird:
Thanks, linden's arm!

I think mom was really enjoying herself.

Next, flipped it over, and sewed up the neck and tail to keep the stuffing inside:
It looks like a turkey, except with a giant duck tail sticking out.

Finally it was time for the oven.  Are you ready for the payoff?

...are you sure?

I hope you can handle it...

No photoshop!  It actually looked like this!

Chicken, in duck, in turkey, oh my!

Sorry, I did not mean to channel Pioneer Woman there.

Okay, maybe a little.

No seriously that's quite enough.  I will not make you wade through any more step-by-step photos.  In any case, as you can see, a nice thing about deboned things is they're easy to carve!  Just slice and serve!  Everyone gets some of everything.

The whole meal was creole-themed, in fact.  We were trying to get as far as possible away from the traditional Christmas meal that would be following shortly after this one.

Final thoughts?  It was really fun to make this turducken, and totally worth it for the adventure and the novelty.  However, I'm not sure that I'd do it again.  It tasted good but what a waste of a duck!  Not only do the turkey and chicken bring down the average, but furthermore there's no way to cook a duck optimally when it's sandwiched between two other birds.  The skin doesn't get crispy.  The fat mostly just sits there (you can see a thick layer of fat in the picture) instead of rendering.  And I'm not sure I want a creole duck either.

Coming soon: how to really cook a duck.

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