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Turducken

20-25 lb whole turkey
4-5 lb whole duckling
3-4 lb whole chicken (or use a larger chicken and place the duckling inside it)
corn bread dressing
sausage stuffing
large roasting pan and rack
cotton string and cheese cloth

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
1-2 tbsp. paprika
1-2 tbsp. garlic powder
1-2 tbsp. pepper
1-2 tsp. dried thyme

Prepare sausage stuffing: Melt butter in large skillet over high
heat. Add 3 cups onions and 1-1/2 cups celery. Saute until onions
are dark brown but not burned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add 2 lbs
sausage (southern-style breakfast, Andouille, Kielbasa, or spicy
Italian sausage) to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes or until
the meat is browned, stirring frequently. Add paprika (3 tbsp.)
and minced garlic (3 tbsp.) and cook about 3 minutes over medium
heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in 3 cups of chicken stock and
bring to simmer. Continue cooking until water evaporates and oil
rises to top, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups 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 thick.

Place duck, skin down, on top of stuffing. Season exposed duck meat
with about 1 tbsp. 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.

Heat 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, 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 according to 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.

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